If you have a loved one who needs more attention than you can give, it may be time for hospice. Hospice is all about the care and comfort patients receive as they face a life-limiting disease or illness. Physicians, directors, nurses, social workers, aides, spiritual coordinators, and volunteers all work together to ensure that the best care is provided for patients.
Though hospice is typically thought to only help the elderly, it provides care for anyone facing a life-altering condition with a life expectancy of fewer than six months. Hospice care is provided for any qualifying patients with cancer, heart, lung, kidney or liver disease, Alzheimer’s, or Dementia. However, to qualify for hospice, two physicians must certify the patient’s life expectancy.
With large hospice care teams, patients can expect to be treated like royalty. Hospice arranges for 24-hour nursing care, seven days a week, where the patient is equipped with a hospital bed, a bedside commode, and medications, all from the comfort of their home.
The attending physician, either yours or one provided by the system, helps direct the plan of care with the medical director. A registered nurse helps manage the pain of the patient while looking for symptoms. The hospice aide directly cares for the patient and reports any needs to the nurse. A social worker and spiritual coordinator assist with emotions, finances, and funeral arrangements. The care also includes grief and counseling services to family members and the patient.
A team of people helps patients feel loved, cared for, and comfortable—which is what people can expect from hospice care.
Hospice helps patients by providing constant care and attention, but it comes at a cost. Fortunately, Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances cover hospice care and the expenses associated with it. However, it is important to check with your insurance provider and confirm the patient’s eligibility before continuing—you don’t want to rack up extra costs on your dime.
Choosing a Hospice Service
While hospice is an incredible tool for providing top care for patients, unfortunately, some hospice services have mistreated their responsibility. So, it is important to identify a quality service before signing up. Some factors to consider when shopping for a hospice service are accreditation, state or federal surveys, certifications, and size. Also, be sure to check out the reviews and getting a referral from someone you trust. Luckily, hospice care is eased with the knowledge that the patient will be at home and will already have a foundational level of comfort.
Care and Comfort
Coping with the care of a loved one can be difficult, especially when they are struggling with pain and illness. Providing care at the level you know they deserve can be seemingly impossible; which is why hospice care is designed to help patients feel comfortable with a plan tailored to them.