Entering hospice care is a frightening prospect for those who have never seen a hospice facility or don’t know what to expect. Both patients and their families need to understand how patients pay for the months of specialized care, what kind of places hospice patients stay, and what hospice care entails. Let’s discuss three things you need to know about hospice care so that you can decide if this path is right for you.
Hospice Is Covered by Medicare
One of the most important things for Missourians to know about is that Medicare covers nearly every cost associated with hospice care. For loved ones over 65, young people with disabilities, or those experiencing renal disease, Medicare covers everything from the cost of medical equipment to counseling. While most patients entering hospice care meet Medicare’s criteria, private insurance companies often offer hospice benefits as well.
Very few patients or families ever pay out of pocket for support through terminal illnesses and can, instead, focus on spending time with the people they love. Families do need to be aware of criteria for how long Medicare covers hospice care, but hospice facilities offer resources to help patients maintain coverage.
Hospice Happens in the Home
Many of us imagine a hospital setting or a facility living situation when we picture hospice care, but that image is only partially accurate. Most of the time, hospice care happens in the patient’s home. End-of-life care focuses on providing comfort and security in the final months of a loved one’s life, so most people elect to spend that time in the home they love.
Facility care is available for emergency situations, and hospice care team physicians and nurses are available 24/7 to help. Loved ones can also go to a facility during respite care, a brief period in which primary caregivers and family can relax. It’s important to know that hospice care can also occur in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Hospice Support Extends to Family Too
You may not realize that the benefits of hospice care, such as emotional and spiritual counseling, are available to both the patient and their family. Grief counseling and support for those experiencing loss are vital resources that families rely on from hospice care teams.
Understanding the complex emotions, overwhelming realities of the process, and how to move forward is difficult even for those who have lost loved ones before. The ability to turn to professional therapists, counselors, ministers, and social workers makes an incredible impact.
There are many more things you need to know about hospice care, but luckily, hospice facilities are accustomed to families coming in with a list of questions. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the facilities you’re interested in to discuss your questions and concerns.