Hospice Makes the Most of Every Day
The hospice concept of care is built on an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates the coordinated services of health care professionals and trained volunteers to meet the unique needs of patients facing a life-limiting illness and their families. Hospice care is a form of palliative care, specifically for individuals with a life-expectancy of six months or less (as determined by their physician), whose goals for care focus on palliation (comfort measures) rather than cure of the underlying disease.
Hospice is not about death, but rather about the quality of life as it nears its end. It is not a place to send people to die and is not about last minute hospital care.
Hospice services provide medical, emotional, spiritual and social support to patients and families experiencing end of life issues. Intermittent care is provided by hospice professionals and it is not a substitute for the family or family's care. Hospice treats the person, not the disease and focuses on the family, not just the individual. To this end, care is provided in the patient's home setting where comfort and security are enhanced by familiar surroundings.
Hospice is a specialized concept of caring for those with life-limiting illness. Patients, with any of the following illnesses or end-stage diseases, may be appropriate for a hospice referral once eligibility criteria are met:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Cardiovascular Diseases
- Lung Disease
- Liver Disease
- Renal Diseases
No one is denied service because of age, race, color, creed, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, disability, diagnosis or the ability to pay.
Hospice Level of Care Services
When a referral is made, the admissions team, along with the patient's Attending Physician and Hospice Medical Director, will decide the level of care needed. The following levels as certified by Medicare include:
- Routine Care: Over 96% of all hospice care is provided intermittently in the comfort and security of the patient's home or in a long-term care facility, with patient symptoms controlled.
- Continuous Care: Only used for a period of crisis, this level of care is covered as necessary to maintain the patient at home. A period of crisis is when a patient requires pain control and symptom management which is primarily skilled nursing care. Once the acute crisis has ended, the patient will be returned to routine care.
- General Inpatient Care: General Inpatient Care is a level of care for pain control or acute or chronic symptom management which cannot be managed in other settings. General Inpatient Care is provided in a contracted skilled nursing facility, or Hospice Inpatient Unit, where a registered nurse is available to provide care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with hospice associates continuing to visit the patient daily to manage care.
- Respite Care: Respite Care is short-term inpatient care provided to individuals residing at home when necessary to relieve the caregiver. Respite care may be provided on an occasional basis and may not be reimbursed for more than five consecutive days at a time. During respite care the patient is transferred to a hospice contracted nursing facility that provides 24 hour nursing care. Hospice associates will continue to visit the patient daily to manage care.
- Private Pay: Arrangement can be made for additional palliative services beyond those covered by the insurance carrier's hospic benefit.
Did you know...?
- Hospice Care is a covered benefit of Medicare Part A, Medicaid (AHCCCS) & most insurance companies.
- In the past year, less than 20% of Medicare patients that were diagnosed terminally ill used their hospice benefit.
- If your health insurance offers a hospice benefit, there will be NO out-of-pocket expenses related to the diagnosis.
- Enrolled patients are entitled to a minimum benefit of $4,000.00 per month, including covering medications, medical equipment and supplies directly related to the diagnosis.
- Care is provided in the patient's home during normal business hours and on an on-call basis 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Hospice patients may visit their primary physician for any symptoms not related to their hospice diagnosis. Non-hospice diagnosis related care is provided additionally by the patient's Medicare Part A & B coverage or other qualified insurance plans.
- Of the over $500 billion spent annually by Medicare, less than 2% is used for hospice services (annual health-care spending in the US has topped $2 trillion).
- Hospice is not a basic benefit under the Medicare Advantage ("MA") Program and MA plans are not required to provide a hospice benefit. Enrollees in MA plans receive the hospice benefit under Original Medcare Part A. Upon enrollment and annually thereafter, MA plans must inform enrollees of the availability of the Medicare hospice option and any approved hospices in the MA Plan's service area including those that the MA organization owns, controls, or in which it has a financial interest.
- People who receive hospice have a higher quality of life, lower medical costs, and according to a recent study, may live longer.
- The Hospice benefit in Medicare, Medicaid (AHCCCS) and health insurance is the model of healthcare in the future.
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