What is Hospice Care?
Hospice care is a team oriented support system that focuses on the medical, physical, and emotional well being of hospice patients and their family members. Hospice is not a specific place, but rather a service that supplements patients and family members by providing care in a setting that they consider home. It can be provided either in a home, a nursing home, or an elderly care facility. Hospice home is palliative and focuses on maintaining maximum comfort. Hospice is for people who have a limiting illness and a limited life expectancy. It is for people who are nearing the end of life. Hospice is usually utilized when the patient and family have decided to no longer seek aggressive or curative treatments, but would rather benefit from a more natural approach to end of life care that focuses on pain management, comfort, and dignity. Hospice care is provided by the Hospice Interdisciplinary Team, which consists of medical professionals (doctors, nurses, home health aides, social workers, volunteers, and spiritual counselors) who visit the patients periodically in their home setting. The overall goal is to ensure that patients are comfortable, their symptoms are well managed, and they have the support that they need both physically, mentally and emotionally. How can families be sure their loved one is receiving compassionate care? Hospices use tools in order to evaluate how well they are caring for patients. This takes on many forms, one of which being family surveys that family members can participate in to help the facilities and care providers measure how well they are taking care of their patients. This also allows them to see the areas in which they need to improve.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has developed suggested standards known as “Standards of Practice for Hospice Programs” to aid programs in ensuring that they are of top quality.
Palliative Care vs. Hospice
Both Palliative Care and Hospice aim for the comfort of the patient. Palliative care treats patients upon diagnosis and aims to alleviate the symptoms and side effects of the diagnosed disease or the treatments provided. Palliative care also treats emotional, social, practical, and spiritual problems that may arise as a result of the illness. Hospice is different as it begins once treatment has stopped and it has been determined that the patient is nearing the end of life. Hospice aims to make the patient feel as comfortable as possible. Hospice care aims to treat the physical and emotional effects of the patient. Hospice care is palliative, but palliative care is not hospice.
Hospice is Federally Regulated
Hospice services are evaluated by state and federal reviewers who inspect the hospices and their programs to ensure that they are in compliance with laws and regulations. There are also state licensure requirements that must always be met to ensure the safety and care of the patient. Hospices are periodically inspected to make sure they are meeting all regulations in order to maintain their license. Hospice services take on many forms and can take place in a variety of places based on the needs of the patient. Hospice care aims to take place wherever the patient feels at home, whether that be their own home or a different facility that meets their needs. When it becomes necessary, facilities are available for patient’s who require around the clock care.
Hospice Home Care
Just as it sounds, Hospice Home Care is delivered in the comfort of the patient’s home instead of at another facility. Employees of the respective Hospice program visit the patients home and deliver quality care. These employees are nurses, aides, or volunteers that all aim to make the patient as comfortable and happy as possible. A team of individuals may be visiting the home at times to ensure that all aspects of the patient are being cared for, such as their physical and emotional well being. In this instance, a family member is typically the primary caregivers and are assisted by staff members who assess the care of the patient and provide additional care. Hospice staff members are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A care plan is formulated by staff members for each patient, outlining the ways in which they will help alleviate the patient’s pain and symptoms.
Nursing Home in Other Facilities
If hospice home care is not the best for the patient, they may be moved into an alternative facility so that nurses, aides or volunteers can provide them with the best care. This usually occurs if the patient does not have any family able to help with their care, the patient’s safety is being jeopardized by being cared for at home, or the patient’s symptoms require care from a more medically structured facility. These facilities include nursing homes or specific hospice nurse homes. These facilities are typically long term. Some hospitals have nursing home units, which provide active but short-term treatment. Some inpatient care facilities aim to return the patient back to their home after some time, whereas some others aim to house patients on a long-term basis. Regardless of location, hospice is aimed to provide the patient with the best quality of life for the remainder of their time.
Hospice Home Care is Typically Affordable for Most
Further aiming for the comfort of the patient means that the care provided is normally not a financial burden for the patient. In other words, the patient is not typically responsible for paying for their care. There are options to make hospice care easily accessible to you or your loved one.
Who Pays for Hospice?
Typically, hospice care costs are covered by Medicare through the Medicare Hospice Benefit, Medicaid (most states), and the Veteran’s Health Administration. People are eligible for Medicaid when their incomes are low and the benefits provided are similar to those provided by Medicare. To be eligible to receive coverage through the Medicare Benefit, patients must be 65 years or older and diagnosed with a terminal illness that is certified by the patient’s doctor stating that the patient is nearing the end of life. Typically, other coverage providers have the same guidelines. If you are wondering what your provider’s guidelines are it is best to contact them directly. Health insurance usually provides some coverage for hospice care. It is best that you contact your provider to check what benefits you have and the type of care that is covered based on your plan.
What if I do Not Have Insurance?
Care is still available for those who are not insured. Based on financial standing and the care company, care may be provided either free of charge or on a scale basis that is based on available funds. It is best to contact your care provider to learn about their abilities to meet your needs. If service is provided free of charge, funds are raised through various sponsors, grants, donors, or gifts. If you are interested in donating, please contact your care provider. At 5 Star Hospice, we strive to provide the best quality of care to our patients. It is our goal to deliver care that focuses on the patient’s comfort, pain management, and dignity while approaching the end of life in a natural way. We are here to support you and your family every step of the way. If you or a loved one is in need of our services, please call us at 626-791-1764. We are available around the clock, 24/7.
Hospice Care is available to assist patients around the clock 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Hospice Services Include:
Physician Visits • Nursing Visits • Health Aide Visits • Social Worker Visits • Spiritual Counseling • Volunteer Assistance • Bereavement Support • Grief Counseling • Caregiver Education and Training • Physical Therapy • Medical Equipment Coverage • Medical Supplies • Covered Medication • Pain and Symptom Management
Five Star Home Hospice is the proven leader in providing Hospice Care in Los Angeles and neighboring counties
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