If you are out of options it is time to consider choosing palliative treatment vs. continuing a no more effective curative treatment plan, which may in fact compromise quality of life and time spent with family. The main focus can then transition to making the person feel as comfortable as you possibly can. This is when hospice services offer patients, families and caregivers ways for symptom management. Patients and families is now able to establish a new goal which is to achieve the best possible quality of life. Hospice provides care inside the patient’s own home, a nursing home, assisted living and Alzheimer’s facilities.
In the past, hospices were associated with only providing take care of cancer patients. This is no more the case and hospice care also serves patients in the final stages of lung, heart or liver disease, dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and AIDS. The service is available to anyone with a life-limiting illness.
A Hospice care program accepts Medicare and Medicaid as 100% coverage because of its care. There are no out-of-pocket expenses for the patient or the patients family. Most other insurance providers also pay for hospice services. If someone else does not have insurance, they are still able to receive hospice care generally.
There are four levels of care hospice can offer, depending on the patient’s current needs. Routine (in your house) care; continuous care for acute symptom management (to avoid patient from unnecessary hospitalization); respite care (to deliver family/caregivers relief) and in-patient care (in designated hospice unit) for uncontrolled symptom management that can’t be provided at home. All numbers of care are covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
Hospice care is really a family-centered approach that includes a team of professionals: the patient’s physician, hospice medical director, RNs, social workers, chaplains, a dietitian, counselors, therapists, home health aides and hospice-trained volunteers. In case you are interested in becoming a hospice volunteer, complete training programs are available to help fulfill your calling to this rewarding mission. The team in concert with by focusing on the patient’s and their family’s needs, including physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects, in addition to providing needed medications, medical equipment and supplies.
There also is a year of continued support intended for the family following the patient’s death. Grief counselors measure the family’s coping skills to determine which level of bereavement support is needed for the reason that first year after their loss.