Understanding Hospice Care
Hospice focuses on improving the quality of life for someone whose condition is not likely to improve. Through physical, emotional, and spiritual care and support, hospice workers create a comfortable end-of-life experience for the patient and their families. If your doctor has recommended hospice care for your loved one, you probably have several questions and concerns, but knowing what to expect can help you through the experience and give you the peace of mind that your loved one will receive the care they need.
How Does Hospice Care Start?
Hospice care usually begins when a doctor estimates that a patient has less than six months to live. Typically, the hospice provider will receive a formal referral from the doctor, and they will make an effort to visit the patient and their family within 48 hours to discuss care options. Care begins within a couple days of the initial visit.
What’s Included in Hospice?
Contrary to popular belief, hospice is not a physical place. Instead, care is provided in a private residence, typically the patient’s home or an assisted living community. This allows the patient to spend their last months, weeks, or days in a comfortable and familiar environment. In some cases, hospice care can be provided in a hospital.
Most hospice services include access to registered nurses, social workers, health aids, caregiver volunteers, and a chaplain to provide services for the whole family. By working with the family, hospice workers create a specialized care plan to improve the quality of life for everyone.
Does Hospice Include Medical Treatments?
Hospice care includes medical treatments that reduce discomfort but do not work to “cure” the condition. By this point, the doctor has determined that the condition is not likely to improve, so when a patient goes into hospice, they will stop receiving any treatments that cause discomfort. For example, a cancer patient may stop receiving chemotherapy.
Some patients may receive palliative care instead of hospice. Palliative care provides all the same services that hospice provides, but patients can still receive medical treatments that work to cure the condition. Unlike hospice care, a palliative care patient’s condition may improve.
Is Hospice Covered by Insurance?
Yes, hospice care is typically covered by most major health insurance providers. Some families may also cover the cost through Medicare and Medicaid.
When everything is changing, Haven Hospice keeps things familiar. We provide hospice and palliative care services to the Southwest Missouri region. Our compassionate team of nurses, medical social workers, and spiritual counselors will work with you to create a comfortable end-of-life experience for your loved one and your family. To learn more, please contact us today at 417-581-1234.