Hospice care is specialized medical and comfort care for a person who is nearing the end of life. Hospice focuses on treating symptoms in a non-curative way. According to a recent study performed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), over 1.61 million Medicare recipients benefit from hospice care each year. Even so, many seniors and family caregivers are not especially informed about all that hospice has to offer. So, let’s talk facts. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about hospice care.
1. Hospice care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most other insurances.
Under Medicare and Medicaid, there is no out-of-pocket cost (or, very little) to a patient. Most other insurances cover hospice as well. Medicare benefits will pay for hospice care when a senior is certified as terminally ill by their doctor, with a life expectancy of 6 months or less. A patient must also provide a signed statement to Medicare, indicating that they understand the insurance will no longer provide benefits for curative purposes.
2. Most hospice care is provided at home.
Whether you live in a nursing home, assisted living, or your family house of 25 years, hospice can be there! Hospice care is provided anywhere that a patient calls home. In fact, according to NHPCO, routine home care accounted for over 98% of care provided by hospice in 2019.
3. End-of-life care is for anyone.
Although the majority of hospice recipients are over the age of 65, around 20% are younger. Hospice care is a benefit for anyone who is in need.
4. There is no duration limit.
To qualify for hospice care, a person must have a prognosis of 6 months or less to live. However, care can continue for as long as needed (as long as the patient’s condition is still considered terminal).
5. Hospice care can be discontinued.
It’s a common misconception that once you’re in, you’re in. If a person gets better while under the care of hospice, services can be dropped. Also important to note – a person can reenter hospice if their prognosis changes yet again.
Related: How To Volunteer With Hospice
6. Hospice is for the entire family.
Hospice isn’t just for the terminally ill patient. It also aims to comfort family and close loved ones. Benefits will include grief counseling and spiritual advisement, as well as social work.
7. Hospice provides equipment.
Procurement of hospice services also includes any medical equipment necessary for treatment. This can be walkers, lifts, wheelchairs, oxygen, or even hospital beds.
8. Hospice provides medical supplies.
In addition to equipment, you can also expect your hospice benefit to include supplies. This will include anything from wound dressing to gloves and even incontinence care supplies.
9. Medication is included.
Medication that is used for symptom management and comfort is included with hospice. Any drugs that are meant as curative treatment are not covered by benefits.
10. Hospice is for any terminal condition.
Another common misconception is that only people with cancer can use hospice. But, actually, care is available to patients with a variety of conditions. Lung disease, congestive heart failure, and Alzheimer’s disease are just a few of the many conditions commonly treated.
Do you need more help?
Need more help with hospice? Then start with these great resources:
Want to read more great articles? Then check out our Health & Wellness Blog!