What is Hospice and Palliative Care?
Hospice is a philosophy of care for those who have a life-threatening illness. Hospice and palliative care involve a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support tailored to meet the patient’s needs and wishes. Support is provided to the patient’s loved one’s as well. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and, in most cases, care is proved in the patient’s home. Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race or illness.
Coverage for Services
Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans, HMO’s and other managed care plans.
Criteria for Eligibility
The patient’s doctor and the hospice medical doctor use their best judgment to certify that the person is terminally ill with a life expectant of six months or less.
The patient chooses to receive hospice care rather than curative treatments for their illness
The patient enrolls in a Medicare-approved hospice program.
How does hospice care begin?
Typically, hospice care starts after a formal request or ‘referral’ is made by the patient’s doctor. Usually, care is ready to begin in 24 hours of a referral. However, in urgent situations, service may begin sooner.
How Our Team Works
A family member serves as the primary caregiver and when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill patient. Our hospice team has expertise in pain control/management. Care is coordinated carefully between your doctor and our hospice team. We work with nursing facility staff to ensure that your loved one receives the best level of comfort. Members of our hospice team make regular visits to the patient and family to provide medical, emotional and spiritual support. Hospice staff is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Professional Hospice Team Includes
- The patient’s personal physician
- Hospice physician (or medical director)
- Home Health Aides
- Social Workers
- Trained volunteers
- Dietician if needed
- Speech, physical and occupational therapists if needed Services Provided by Hospice
Among its major responsibilities, the interdisciplinary hospice team:
- Manages the patient’s pain and symptoms;
- Assists the patient with the emotional, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of dying;
- Provides needed drugs, medical supplies and equipment;
- Coaches the family on how to cater for the patient;
- Makes short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time;
- Provides bereavement support and counseling to surviving family and friends;
- Provides continuous care during medical crisis;
- Respite care.
Services Not Covered By Hospice:
- Curative or life-extending treatments or care
- Services not related to terminal illness