Hospice can look different for each person, but it is an interdisciplinary care that includes medical and emotional care for patients and their families. Hospice will include things like medical care and pain relief for patients as well as grief counseling for them and their families. Hospice care can happen at home, in the hospital, or in places like nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Most hospice teams will consist of several people including the primary care doctor, several nurses, counselors, therapists, and any other support the family needs during this time.
Hospice is for patients that have a life-ending illness and often don’t have much longer than six months left to live. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice conducted a study that showed patients who received hospice care were less depressed than those who didn’t. These patients also experienced less pain and ended up living longer than those who did not get hospice care.
The first thing you need to look for is licensing and accreditation, so you know you’re getting quality care. In Texas, all hospice facilities must be licensed by the state Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). DADS also conducts reviews of each facility, so all their standards are up to code. You can also find hospice care services accredited through the Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP) program. CHAP is an independent review board that has been around since 1965, and you can search their database online to find providers.
Once you have found places that are properly licensed, you need to look at the services they provide and make sure they meet your needs. Your hospice care needs to provide a high quality of care and coordinate well with all the members of your team. Hospice is not only for the patient but the family as well. You can talk with your doctor, friends, family members, and others for suggestions as well as go online to look at reviews.
Hospice tends to be a little more expensive than other long-term care costs because there are more services provided as well as more people caring for the patient. Texas DADS estimated that Austin in-home hospice care costs about $156 per day and that includes all medications.
While the costs might be high, many programs and benefits will cover these costs. Medicare covers 100% of most expenses of care for Part A policy holders, and they only require a small copay on medications and care. Medicaid is another option, and Texas Medicaid covers most of the hospice care costs. If you’re a veteran TRICARE will cover your costs as well as the costs for any dependents, and if you have private health insurance, hospice is often included.
If for some reason none of these options work and you can’t pay for hospice, many facilities are willing to work with you. They might offer a sliding scale rate so you can pay what you can afford or set up a payment plan you can handle. Some facilities might also work with you free of charge, but that isn’t always the case so make sure you ask.
Austin has quite a few facilities that provide hospice care for both patients and their families. These include Buckner Villa Siesta Home, Longhorn Village, and Cedar View Rehab & Healthcare. Silverado Onion Creek was one of SeniorAdvisor.com Best of 2016 award winners and provides many types of senior care including hospice care.
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