A new AARP analysis gives a glimpse into the experiences of family caregivers and offers recommendations on policies and practices that policymakers should enact in support of caregivers nationwide.
What Is Hospice Care at Home?
Hospice care is a type of health care that patients with terminally ill conditions rely on at the end of their lives. This type of care focuses on pain management and emotional, spiritual, and familial support for patients nearing the end of their lives.
There are several options for receiving hospice care, including being cared for at home. The type of intimate care a patient receives while in hospice is more conducive to being received at the patient’s home. This becomes a team effort, and it helps to have a peaceful environment when receiving care.
Who Can Benefit From This Type of Care?
Patients with serious illnesses like cancer, heart disease, dementia, kidney failure, or other fatal conditions benefit from hospice care. This type of care can help the patient live a more comfortable life while decreasing the emotional burden of grief for families by preparing them for the loss of their loved one.
When Is Hospice Recommended?
Hospice care should not only be considered by those who have loved ones nearing the end of their lives. While most of these services are generally reserved for people with six months or less to live, early hospice care can be beneficial for patients and their families as well.
You may wish to consider such services in the following cases:
- The patient has a serious decline in their physical well-being
- After a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- You have decided to forgo any treatment to improve your physical treatment or care for your illness
Who Makes Up a Hospice Care Team?
Your hospice team can consist of many different types of people. Various professionals and volunteers may be involved in end-of-life care. Some of those you may see on your care team can include:
- Social workers
- Spiritual advisors
- Trained volunteers
Who Pays for Hospice Home Care?
Like any other health care option, these services can quickly become very expensive. Fortunately, there are several ways to cover the cost, including:
If you qualify for government assistance, there may be insurance plans specifically designed to cover the cost of hospice care.
Seniors enrolled in Medicare Part A may qualify for a Medicare hospice care benefit. This benefit program allocates money to pay for such care at home.
For terminally ill patients on Medicaid, hospice care may be covered depending on the state.
The Department of Veterans Affairs may also provide coverage for these care benefits for seniors who have served our country.
Check the terms of your insurance policy to determine if your health insurance covers hospice care. Your policy may cover all or part of your hospice care needs.
Options for Uninsured Patients
Even if you do not have health insurance, you may still have coverage options. There are charitable organizations that work with elderly and disabled individuals who need help paying for hospice care services. Hospice care organizations also often have internal departments that work with patients who qualify for this type of care but are indigent or do not have health insurance.
Is In-Home Hospice Right For You?
Making this choice is an important part of your end-of-life care plan. Be sure to gather as much information as you can before deciding whether this type o care is best for you. For example, you may want to consult Medicare’s hospice compare website or CaringInfo.org’s website for other hospice locator tools.
If you have questions about Medicare or Medicaid, contact your elder law attorney to learn more.