Research shows that one in four Americans, or roughly 98 million citizens, will be 65 or older by 2060. With so much of the population aging, the demand for dignified end-of-life care is steadily increasing. The country’s hospices have provided solutions for seniors and other citizens dealing with terminal conditions. Rather than treat conditions the way hospitals do, hospices focus on providing patients with the best possible quality of life during the time they have left. Teams of professionals meet patients’ physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.
Despite the number of patients choosing hospice care, there are still many questions and misconceptions surrounding the option. Common inquiries include:
1. Who Is Eligible for Hospice Care?
Families and patients who have never dealt with terminal illnesses often believe that only a few select patients can get hospice care. The reality is that patients just need a doctor’s recommendation certifying they have a fatal medical condition, are not seeking medical treatment, and are expected to live for six months or less. These requirements are not always cut and dried. Facilities often consider other factors, and the best way to learn specifics is to search online for Hospice Care Near Me and speak to staff members at a local facility.
2. Will Insurance Pay for Hospice Services?
Nearly all insurance coverage includes hospice care, including Medicaid and Medicare.
3. Does Entering Hospice Speed Up the Dying Process?
Per the Hospice Foundation, providers neither attempt to cure patients nor speed up the dying process. They focus on providing relief from symptoms and improving patients’ quality of life.
4. Do Hospice Patients Have to Be Over 65?
There is a widespread belief that hospices are designed for senior citizens. The truth is that anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can be admitted regardless of their age.
5. Is Hospice Care Primarily for Cancer Patients?
Statistics show that most hospice patients have illnesses other than cancer. Many suffer from life-threatening conditions like kidney failure, heart or lung disease, or dementia.
6. Can Patients Get Hospice Care at Home?
Yes, they can. According to AARP, “most care is provided at the loved one’s home, whether that is a private residence, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home.”
7. Does Hospice Care Stop if Patients Live Longer Than Six Months?
A doctor can recommend continued care for a patient who has been in hospice care for six months and is getting worse. Medicare requires that patients stop care if their health improves after six months, but Medicare coverage does not expire.
8. Can Anyone Make a Referral to Hospice?
A patient’s family member, friend, or caregiver can contact a local facility to determine whether hospice care would be the best choice. The patient’s doctor will consult with hospice professionals and the patient to decide on a plan.
9. Is Hospice Service Available Around the Clock?
Hospice service includes 24/7 assistance and phone advice. When a patient receiving care has a crisis, family members are encouraged to call the hospice staff for help. If caregivers cannot help over the phone, a nurse will visit the patient wherever they are getting care.
10. Does Hospice Offer Family Grief Support?
Teams of hospice professionals work with patients’ families to relieve their stress and provide supportive services. They also offer respite care that gives caregivers a break when they need it. Grief counseling is part of the service.
Although hospices serve thousands of patients each year, many people are not clear about how they work. Fortunately, hospices offer 24/7 assistance, and staff members will help anyone who reaches out to them and answer their questions. Hospices ensure that dying patients enjoy the best quality of life in their last days, and staff members support patients’ family members in various ways.