For those who’ve never seen, experienced, or had a loved one receive it, the idea of hospice care might leave you with any number of feelings. From worry and confusion to curiosity and anticipation, however you are feeling is 100% normal.
When we have a less-than-clear understanding of what something is or how it works, it can lead to any number of feelings. And, it’s been my experience that with a little information, we’re able to replace those worries and feelings with understanding. Which brings me to the reason I’m here, talking about hospice care.
What is Hospice Care?
Hospice care, also knowns as end-of-life care, is medical care where the focus is placed on managing pain and controlling symptoms instead of curing. Hospice’s reorient goals towards quality over quantity of life acknowledging and affirming that human beings are more than just physical bodies and have needs beyond just the physical like spiritual and social needs.
As a result, the care someone receives through hospice does not speed up or slow down the dying process. In fact, hospice sometimes extends the life of the patient as research has shown. (https://www.vitas.com/~/media/pdfs/vitas_discussion_guide.ashx) At its core, hospice is holistic. Hospice recognizes the need to treat the whole being of the patient and family system as opposed to just treating the body and dealing with the disease.
Who can receive hospice care?
Before an individual can receive hospice care, their doctor and a hospice medical director have to certify they have a life-limiting illness, and that on its current path, death can be expected in six months or less. Some individuals receive hospice care longer than six months, because an illness’s progression and what end-of-life looks like varies from person to person.
Does hospice care have specific work hours?
Hospice care doesn't take days off. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. While each individual’s care schedule will differ depending on their specific needs, hospice care has nurses, social workers, and chaplains on-call at all times.
What does a hospice volunteer do?
Volunteers provide non-medical support like preparing meals, offering companionship, and running errands. All volunteers go through special screening and training.
Will I need to move to receive hospice care?
Hospice care takes place in the home of the individual receiving care. Whether their home is in a house, apartment, assisted living community, or long-term care it won't affect their ability to receive hospice care.
How is hospice payed for?
Hospice care is funded through the Medicare Hospice Benefit, as well as most private insurers. While Medicaid benefits vary between states, hospice has financial staff who will help individuals and their families understand how to cover hospice costs.
Looking to learn more about hospice care and how it can affect your loved one? Feel free to contact one of our care specialists.