21 Jun Hospice Care in Seniors
Hospice care provides physical and emotional support to patients, and their families, who have received a terminal diagnosis. To that end, the goal of hospice is to provide end-of-life or palliative care. Hospice care does not cure or treat an illness. Furthermore, recognizing that the final stage of life takes a different form for everyone, hospice workers strive to meet the unique needs of the individual patient. If necessary, relief from pain will be given.
I have personally witnessed hospice care for many of my senior clients and have seen the comfort hospice workers provide for those in the final season of their life. The highly trained and professional staff bring a thorough medical knowledge and incredible strength while helping to create a calm, supportive, and loving environment. Hospice care is a true blessing for patients and their loved ones.
Hospice Care Services
Under the direction of a patient’s personal physical or hospice medical care director, hospice provides assistance with:
• Nursing Services
• Social Work Services
• Chaplain Services
• Bereavement Services
• Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy
• Home Health Aides
• Respite Care
• Musician Services
• Volunteer Services
• Educational Materials
Eligibility for Seniors
For seniors, Medicare Part A provides hospice coverage under an approved hospice services program. In most cases, there is no cost for hospice care except for the possibility of a small copayment for prescription drugs. Medicare does not cover the coast of room and board.
The patient’s doctor or hospice medical director must certify that a patient has 6 months or less to live. Once a patient is certified for hospice care, he or she (or health care power of attorney) must sign a statement that hospice care is now chosen over routine Medicare healthcare coverage. In some cases, if the patient’s health improves or the illness goes into remission, hospice care can be stopped and the patient can go back to receiving regular Medicare coverage.
Before entering a hospice program, it is very important to make sure an advanced healthcare directive and designated health care power of attorney is in place. It may be difficult to enroll a person in hospice without these important legal documents. This is especially important when patients are unable to communicate their own desires about medical care. Medicare covers hospice in a patient’s home or in an approved hospice location including an independent living/assisted living facility, nursing home, or skilled care.