Dallas End-of-Life Care
Hospice care is interdisciplinary medical and emotional care for patients and their loved ones during the final months of life. Hospice combines medical care, pain relief, counseling for patient and family, respite care for family members, and more. Patients can get hospice care at home, in the hospital, or in another long-term care setting like a nursing home or dementia care community. The typical hospice team includes doctors, nurses, certified nurse assistants, social workers, therapists and others who work with the patient and his or her medical team and family.
Hospice care is intended for patients with a life-ending illness whose doctors believe they have less than 6 months to live. Studies cited by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice show that hospice patients are less depressed and have a better quality of life than patients without hospice care. What’s more, hospice patients with proper pain relief live longer than those without the right palliative care.
What to look for in a hospice service
In Texas, hospice care providers must by licensed and certified by the state Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). Many are also accredited by CHAP, the Community Health Accreditation Partner program, an independent accrediting board founded in 1965. CHAP’s national database of accredited providers is here. Many providers are Medicare and Medicaid certified as well.
Besides credentials, you’ll want a hospice with a reputation for quality care, compassion, and good coordination and delivery of services. As always, word of mouth is a great source of referrals. Friends, co-workers and neighbors may have recommendations. Online ratings can help you build a list of agencies to contact for detailed information.
What does hospice care cost, and who pays for it?
Hospice care costs are near the high end of the spectrum for senior care, in part because there are so many services provided during hospice. Texas DADS estimates the daily cost in Austin at $156 for in-home hospice care (inclusive of medication). Dallas care rates are slightly lower overall than those in Austin.
However, there are more ways to pay for hospice care than for many other types of senior care. For example, Medicare, which does not cover assisted living or nursing home care, does cover 100% of many hospice care services and medications for Part A policyholders, with only small copays for medication and care. The Medicaid program in Texas covers hospice care as well. TRICARE covers hospice for military members and their dependents, and most private health insurance covers hospice care as well.
In situations where the patient isn’t covered by any of these programs, some hospices will make an effort to establish a payment plan, sliding scale payments, or charitable care.
Who provides hospice care in Dallas?
There are many agencies around the city that serve hospice patients and their families at home. These include Hospice Select, Encompass, and Silverado Hospice Dallas/Fort Worth. More than 2 dozen Alzheimer’s care communities and nursing homes in Dallas have hospice services available, including SeniorAdvisor.com 2016 Best of Senior Living award winners Weismer House, Arbor House, and Brookdale White Rock.
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