During a terminal illness that has been treated severally without improvement, your doctor may let you know that death is possible within six months. Or you may decide that you are ready to stop your treatments because they are no longer working. In both instances, your doctor can make a referral for hospice care.
What is Hospice Care?
Hospice care, also known as end-of-life care, provides comfort care to patients with terminal illnesses when the treatments meant to cure or slow a disease are no longer working. Regardless of age, hospice care can help patients with terminal illnesses that are not limited to the following:
- Heart failure
- Organ failure
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Hospice allows you to transition from the goal of curing disease to making the rest of your life worth living and enjoyable. That means you spend less money on an illness that may never go away.
Hospice care provides you with symptoms relief and gives you the social, emotional, and spiritual support you need to navigate life. You can focus on the people and things that are most important to you. Hospice care helps patients pass on with dignity and peace by fulfilling their last wishes.
Hospice can provide care in a clinic, private residence, nursing home, assisted living community, or residential care facility for the elderly. But, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 7 in 10 Americans say they would prefer to die at home.
That’s why the health care system is moving in that direction. Hospice care at home means you can spend quality time with the people and things you care about the most. Creating beautiful memories and sharing sweet emotions.
You also have more opportunities for important conversations and bonding activities that matter most to you and your family.
What Is Hospice Care at Home?
Hospice care at home is simply hospice care done in the comfort of your home. The hospice team will design a tailored plan to suit your unique condition and needs. This plan will focus on relieving your pain & symptoms and improving your quality of life.
Most times, a multidisciplinary health care team manages hospice care. The team may include doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, dietitians, home health aides, clergy, therapists, bereavement coordinator, and trained volunteers.
One of the advantages of in-home hospice care is that patients do not have to be homebound. They can decide to leave home, run errands, take a walk with their loved ones, and even go on a trip if they feel well enough.
What to Expect
A patient who chooses to have hospice care at home needs to pick someone to be their primary caregiver. This person is usually a family member or close friend. The primary caregiver works with the hospice team to create a care plan that suits the patient’s specific needs and preferences.
The caregiver needs to be with the patient, preferably 24/7. They will be trained to provide hands-on care, including physical care, keeping records of symptoms & other problems, and scheduling people to help with the patient’s care.
Throughout the length of hospice care, the primary caregiver continues to be the main person to help make decisions for the patient. The caregiver can choose to outsource the physical care responsibilities, but they are in charge of communicating with the hospice team.
Medicare surveys show that almost 80% of caregivers say their hospice experience was positive. And hospice aides will also assist with bathing, dressing, cleaning, and cooking.
During hospice care at home, hospice nurses make regular visits to re-evaluate and are always available on call 24/7. The nurses also send out the team member you may need between scheduled visits.
There will be regular reports and meetings between the family and the team to evaluate the patient’s status and ensure all needs are being met.
How Long is Hospice Care at Home?
As long as the patient still has only a short time to live (as determined by the doctor), they can receive unlimited visits for six months or longer.
Who Pays for Hospice Care at home?
At Hospice Care Options, hospice care at home cost is covered by Medicare and Medicaid, and many other private insurance companies.
The Medicare hospice benefit covers all medications, medical equipment, and supplies related to a hospice patient’s terminal diagnosis. A hospice aide who provides personal care, such as bathing and mouth care, is also covered.
During an emergency, the primary caregiver is advised to call the hospice team first before calling 911 or going to the hospital. The team will tell you what to do. If you choose to go directly to the hospital or emergency room without calling the hospice team first, hospice insurance benefits may not want to pay for the visit or stay.
Can Patients Stop Hospice Care?
Hospice care isn’t always a permanent choice. For example, you can decide to stop hospice care and resume curative treatments. Some patients may get better unexpectedly and decide to quit hospice care.
Hospice care at home near me in Georgia
Hospice Care Options is a leading provider of psychological, physical, emotional, and spiritual end-of-life care to patients who have terminal illnesses in Eastman, Macon, and the surrounding areas of Middle Georgia.
Our compassionate team of trained professionals provides care that focuses on the patient and their families in a holistic fashion, recognizing that they are much more than a disease. You get to work with a team of good listeners that want to support patients and their families during the last stage of an advanced illness. For more than 20 years, we have helped patients in more than 49 counties throughout the state of Georgia. If you or a loved one is dealing with a terminal disease, we encourage you to reach out today to discuss the numerous care services we can provide.