What is Hospice Care?
Hospice originates from the centuries-old concept of offering hospitality to those on a long or brief journey. Today the hospice movement continues to represent a supportive philosophy and concept of care available to those whose life expectancy is measure by weeks and months. Hospice recognizes these weeks and months as the final stage of life.
A primary goal of hospice is to enable patients and families to live out these weeks or months to the fullest in their environment of choice surrounded by their loved ones. Today, hospice is a concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The patient is referred to hospice when life expectancy is approximately 6 months or less. Hospice care can continue longer than 6 months if needed but requires physician certification. Hospice care takes place at home, whether it is the individual's home, the home of a family member or a friend, a nursing or assisted living facility, in house facility, or a hospital. It is wherever the individual calls "home."
Improving Quality of Life
Hospice care neither prolongs life nor hastens death. The goal of hospice is to improve the quality of a patient's remaining weeks or months by offering comfort in place of finding a cure. The hospice care team will work hard to preserve the patient's dignity as hospice services are provided. Hospice provides emotional, social and spiritual care for patients and their families.
Hospice is available as a benefit under Medicare Part A, Medicaid and most private insurances providers. The Medicare hospice benefit is designed to meet the unique needs of those who have a life-limiting illness, providing them and their loved ones with services and support not otherwise covered by Medicare. Medicare beneficiaries elect to receive pain and symptom management for their hospice diagnosis by waiving the standard Medicare benefits for treatment of an illness. The beneficiary may continue to access standard Medicare benefit for treatment of conditions unrelated to the hospice diagnosis.
You may be eligible for hospice if:
- You are eligible for Medicare Part A.
- Your attending physician and the hospice medical director certify that you have a life-limiting illness with life expectancy of six months or less.
- You receive care from a Medicare Approved Hospice Program
- You sign a statement choosing hospice care using the Medicare Hospice Benefit
We provide care to patients with any end stage diagnosis. These may include but are not limited to:
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Liver Disease
- Neurological Diseases ( Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc.)
The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers the following services related to the hospice diagnosis and are detailed in the individual's plan of care:
- Physician's services from the patient's personal physician and/or the hospice medical director to provide oversight of the patient's care
- Skilled nursing to assess, monitor, and provide appropriate care to maintain comfort
- Home health aide services such as bathing, dressing, linen change, assist with ambulation/transfers, grooming, light housekeeping pertaining to the patient
- Spiritual support for the patient and/or loved ones if desired
- Social work or counseling services
- Medical Equipment
- Medical Supplies
- Medications for pain and symptom control
- Volunteer support
- Other services such as physical, speech, occupational therapy and dietary counseling
- Bereavement counseling and support services for 12 months after the patient's death
- Respite and inpatient care for pain and symptom management
However, the Medicare Hospice Benefit does not cover the following:
- Treatment intended to cure your illness
- Medications not directly related to your hospice diagnosis
- Care from another provider that is the same care that you are getting from Mercy Hospice
- Nursing facility room and board, you may receive hospice services even if you live in a nursing home, however, the Hospice Benefit does not pay for nursing facility room and board
Hospice care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and by most insurance companies.