End-of-life care is available for patients in most assisted living facilities, skilled nursing homes, or in their own homes. This specialized care also referred to as hospice care, is provided to patients with a prognosis of less than six to twelve months due to a fatal condition. These conditions include complications from AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, later stage of dementia, cancer, or stroke.
The patient’s family and caregivers can take advantage of the hospice service as the staff provides respite care, counseling, and grief support during this time. Making sure your loved one is comfortable and experiences a high quality of life is the end-of-life care team’s primary focus. They will work intimately with the patient’s specialists, doctors, nurses, clergy, home health aides, social workers, counselors, and volunteers.
According to the Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP), the State of South Carolina does require hospice providers to be licensed and to carry a certification of need for inpatient hospice. The Department of Health and Environmental Control lists the licensure requirements. You may want to read over the regulations to ensure the hospice provider you choose is following all of the requirements. The CHAP website also features a database to help you locate accredited hospice providers in the Charleston area. You can find agencies such as LINCARE and Wiregrass Hospice of South Carolina on the site.
Hospice care costs vary due to the nature of the specialized care since it is managed by a multidisciplinary team and can last from a few days to several months, depending on the patient’s condition and needs. In South Carolina, Medicaid will cover hospice care for those patients that qualify financially and have a prognosis of fewer than six months. Medicaid does require a prior authorization from the physician for hospice care, but not for room and board at a facility.
Medicare Part A will cover hospice care 100 percent with the exception of room and board at a facility. Many patients with dual coverage (Medicaid and Medicare) combine the two to cover the cost of care.
Other third party insurances, like TRICARE for veterans, will cover hospice. Confirm with your private insurance if they offer hospice coverage for how long.
Charleston offers several hospice providers and agencies in the city such as Hospice of Charleston, Hospice Care of America, Roper St. Francis Home Health, Transitions Hospice Care, Pruitt Health Hospice, Amedisys Home Health of Charleston East, Piedmont Hospice, and Beacon Hospice.
If your loved one is staying at an assisted living community or skilled nursing facility, consider asking if the facility provides hospice services. The following are a few in Charleston that has hospice available: Savannah Place, Ashley River Plantation, Brookdale Charleston, Sweetgrass Court, and The Palms of Mount Pleasant.
Research and compare hospice providers and agencies in Charleston before hiring one to serve you and your family.
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