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What is Hospice Care

The Carter Center recently announced that US President Jimmy Carterwouldbegin to received hospice care in his home rather than continue his stay in the hospital. Numerous news outlets, such as CNN, ABC, NBC and others have posted very helpful articles on what it means to be on hospice care and we encourage you to read them.

In our experience, three common questions arise as families consider this option:

What exactly is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is a type of specialized medical care that is focused on providing comfort and support to individuals who are in the final stages of a terminal illness. The primary goal of hospice care is to help patients maintain their dignity and quality of life as they approach the end of their lives, while also supporting their families and loved ones through the process.

Hospice care typically involves a team of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, and spiritual advisors, who work together to provide comprehensive care to patients. This care may include pain management, symptom relief, emotional support, and spiritual care, among other services.

Hospice care can be provided in a variety of settings, including the patient’s home, a hospice facility, or a hospital. It is typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans.

Is Hospice Care Free?

Hospice care is typically covered by most private insurance plans, as well as by Medicare and Medicaid in the United States. While there may be some out-of-pocket costs for certain services, such as medications or equipment, hospice care itself is generally covered by insurance.

However, it is important to note that hospice care is not completely free. There may be some costs associated with hospice care, such as co-payments, deductibles, or other fees. Additionally, some hospice providers may charge for services that are not covered by insurance.

However, many hospice providers work with patients and their families to ensure that they are able to access the care they need, regardless of their ability to pay. There are also organizations that provide financial assistance to individuals who are unable to afford hospice care.

If you are considering hospice care for yourself or a loved one, it is important to talk to the hospice provider about the costs associated with care, as well as any available financial assistance programs.

Can I go off of Hospice and then go back on if needed?

Yes, it is possible to go off of hospice care and then go back on if needed. Hospice care is designed to be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the patient and their family.

If a patient’s condition improves or stabilizes, they may no longer need hospice care. In this case, the patient can be discharged from hospice and return to traditional medical care.

However, if the patient’s condition deteriorates and they require hospice care again, they can be readmitted to hospice. The hospice provider will evaluate the patient’s condition and determine if they are eligible for hospice care under their insurance or other coverage.

It is important to note that each situation is unique, and there may be specific requirements or guidelines that need to be followed when going off and returning to hospice care. It is important to discuss any concerns or questions about hospice care with the hospice provider and healthcare team.

The National Institutes on Aging has a very good article that we encourage anyone considering hospice care to read. Click here to be redirected to their website.

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