The decision to begin hospice care is a difficult and emotional one, but choosing the right hospice care provider makes all the difference in alleviating some of that stress. If your loved one meets the eligibility for hospice care and is considering a palliative option, consider Compassus. Our team expertly and compassionately provides end-of-life care that focuses on improving quality of life and providing comfort. Call 833.380.9583 today for more information and to learn how we can help you and your loved ones.
What Is Hospice?
Hospice care is a type of healthcare that focuses on palliative care for terminally ill patients. Pain and other symptoms are managed, and their emotional and spiritual needs are also met with round-the-clock support. Hospice care reduces pain and suffering to improve quality of life and promote comfort at the end of a patient’s life.
Individuals who qualify for hospice care may experience any or all of the following:
- Frequent hospitalizations
- Progressive weight loss
- Deteriorating mental abilities
- Recurrent infections
- Specific decline in condition
Hospice is available to patients with a terminal diagnosis and a life expectancy of six months or less, as determined by the patient’s doctor and a hospice medical director. The patient or the family must be aware of the prognosis and decide on comfort care rather than curative treatment for the terminal condition.
Determining a prognosis of six months or less can be challenging; awareness of decline requires understanding a patient’s condition over time. That’s why primary care doctors are essential for determining eligibility. The second criterion for hospice eligibility is an assessment by a hospice medical director or a nurse with specialized hospice training.
Eligibility for Hospice Care
For many patients and families, hospice offers peace and a chance to focus on what’s important. If a patient is eligible and meets hospice care requirements, we understand the decision to actually choose hospice is difficult.
Open communication is key. That’s why we encourage patients and families to start conversations with each other and with the patient’s doctor. Advanced care planning can bring clarity to a patient’s end-of-life goals and help doctors and families understand the patient’s wishes.
It is important for patients and families to know that anyone can make a referral to hospice. Studies show that patients who receive care early benefit substantially more than those who enter hospice during the final days or hours of life.
Hospice Pre-Election Consultations
Medicare allows and reimburses for a one-time visit by a physician who is either the medical director or an employee of a hospice agency. Consultations are free to patients and families and without obligation. A consultation will:
- Evaluate the need for pain and symptom management
- Counsel the individual regarding hospice and other care options
- Advise the individual regarding advanced care planning
- Provide Hospice Pre-Election Evaluation and counseling information
Staff at Compassus hospice locations are available for no-obligation consultations. The Medicare hospice website includes information about covered services, plans, and criteria. Hospice is a fully covered Medicare benefit, and coverage includes nurses, other caregivers, medicines, supplies, equipment, and support with no out-of-pocket expenses for the hospice diagnosis.
It is also important to note that a patient who changes their mind and wishes to resume medical treatment for their condition may elect to do so at any time.