Hospice care is designed to help patients with life-limiting illnesses live out their remaining time with the highest quality of life possible.
Once a patient enters hospice care, services can be provided to both them and their loved ones. The goal of hospice is to ease the stress by ensuring that the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met.
Many families who have received hospice care wish they had started earlier, so if a patient’s treatment options have reached an end, it may be time to talk to your doctor about hospice.
It’s important to understand the benefits of what hospice offers:
- The focus of hospice is on managing pain and other symptoms because the patient will no longer be receiving treatment for their illness.
- Services are available for family members and loved ones in addition to the patient.
- Hospice care can include medical equipment the patient needs, such as hospital beds, oxygen equipment, or accessibility aids.
- Hospice works to support and empower the patient to live their remaining time as they wish.
- The patient and the family can receive support through the emotional, psychological and spiritual challenges that the end of life can bring.
Hospice care can be provided where the patient feels most comfortable – in a residential home, a hospital, or some other facility. Most patients prefer to receive care in their own homes, but services can be adapted as needs change.
Who Is Eligible for Hospice?
Generally, a patient is eligible for hospice care if their remaining life expectancy is six months or less. While it is difficult to predict the exact course of a disease, a physician can make a recommendation to hospice care without a precise timeline if curative treatments are exhausted.
Once a patient is referred, the hospice care professionals at Siena Hospice will work closely with the referring physician, the patient, and the family to determine the optimal course of treatment.
How Do I Pay for Hospice?
Medicare’s Hospice Benefit covers most patients who receive hospice care services, although sometimes private insurance may be used.
Medicare’s benefits can cover up to 100% of:
- Visits from doctors and nurses
- Visits from other caregivers, such as social workers, chaplains, and volunteers
- Medication to control pain and other symptoms
- Medical supplies
- Dietary counseling
- Emotional and spiritual counseling