More Hospice Care Information
How does hospice care work?
Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. Hospice staff is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The hospice team develops a care plan with the patient that meets the patient’s needs for pain management and symptom control. The team usually consists of:
- The patient’s primary care physician
- Hospice physician (or Medical Director)
- Home health aides
- Social workers
- Clergy or other counselors
- Trained volunteers
- Speech, physical, and occupational therapists, if needed
What services are provided?
Among its major responsibilities, the interdisciplinary hospice team:
- Manages the patient’s pain and symptoms
- Assists the patient with the emotional and psycho-social and spiritual aspects of life’s transitions
- Provides needed drugs, medical supplies, and equipment
- Coaches the family on how to care for the patient
- Delivers special services like speech and physical therapy when needed
- Makes short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time
- Provides bereavement care and counseling to surviving family and friends
Paying for hospice
Hospice is paid through the Medicare Hospice Benefit, Medicaid Hospice Benefit, and most private insurers. If you are a veteran, you have special benefits through the Veteran’s Administration. If a person does not have coverage through Medicare, Medicaid or a private insurance company, we will work with patients and their family to gain access to hospice services.
Medicare hospice benefit
The Medicare Hospice Benefit is covered under Medicare Part A (hospital insurance). Medicare beneficiaries who choose hospice care receive a full scope of medical and support services for their life-limiting illness. Hospice care also supports the family and loved ones of the patient through a variety of services.
Sometimes a patient’s health improves or their illness goes into remission. If that happens, your doctor may feel that you no longer need hospice care. Individuals always have the right to stop receiving hospice care, for any reason. If you stop your hospice care, you will receive the type of Medicare coverage that you had before electing hospice. If you are eligible, you can return to hospice care at any time.
Who is eligible for medicare hospice benefits?
You are eligible for Medicare hospice benefits when you meet all of the following conditions:
- You are eligible for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), and your doctor and the hospice Medical Director certify that you have a life-limiting illness and believe you to have a life expectancy of six months or less, should the disease progress at its normal course