Hospice provides quality of life for a terminally ill person.  Hospice care works to make the patient as comfortable as possible.  In addition to alleviating pain, hospice often allows the patient to remain at home.  It is a great service for those who are seriously ill, who have exhausted their treatment options, or who do not wish to continue treatment for a terminal illness.

How is Hospice Care Obtained?

Two doctors must give a prognosis that the patient has six months or less to live.  Because there is no way to be sure how long a patient will live, the patient must continue to qualify every 60 to 90 days.

What are the Benefits of Hospice Care?

The hospice team consists of the patient’s own doctors and other healthcare professionals employed by the hospice agency.  They work together to coordinate patient care.  In addition to focusing on the patient’s physical needs, they also address spiritual and emotional needs.

The hospice staff will come to the patient, whether she is at home or in a medical facility.  The hospice agency also provides support to families and caregivers.  In addition to emotional support, hospice staff can train family caregivers in how to provide care to their loved one.  They can also provide respite care to caregivers, giving caregivers critical downtime to rest and handle their own affairs.  Finally, hospice staff provide bereavement support for families as well.

Who Pays for Hospice Care?

Medicare pays hospice expenses for most patients.  Veterans are eligible for hospice benefits through the Veteran’s Health Administration.  Health insurance may cover some hospice benefits, also.  If the patient has no other way to pay for hospice care, ask whether it can be provided on a sliding scale or free of charge.

If you have questions about hospice or other end-of-life legal or financial issues, please contact us.  We know this is a difficult issue, and we would be honored to help.



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