All families have an emotional struggle with the transition from palliative care to hospice care, because it means that the end of life will come within six months. After having discussions with the family members, physicians signal the start of hospice care when they believe that life-saving measures will not be effective.
Hospice services are usually provided in the comfort of the patient’s home or in the home of another family member. Services may also be provided in a hospital, nursing home, or dementia-care facility. Doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, social workers, and therapists provide care for the patient during the final months. Hospice care often signals the grieving process for the family, so the hospice team offers valuable support for the family members as well.
Three major hospice providers recently combined under one umbrella to serve families who care for a family member in the end of life stage. JourneyCare, Horizon Hospice and Palliative Care, and Midwest Hospice and Palliative Care Center merged in 2015 to become one of the largest hospice providers in the Chicago area. Operating under the new name, JourneyCare, the non-profit organization employs 800 healthcare professionals. About 90% of the time, JourneyCare is able to provide services in the patient’s home. The newly formed agency is committed to helping patients and their families during every part of the end-life stage.
All Help Health Services holds licenses by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Labor. The agency is a member of the National Association of Home Care & Hospice, Illinois Homecare & Hospice Council, Life Services Network, and Illinois Private Care Association. The agency fully screens their caregivers and the agency is bonded and insured for liability. All Help Health Services works closely and in conjunction with Chicagoland hospitals, medical facilities, and rehabilitation facilities. They have a strong reputation for providing quality care among other providers. All Help Health Services won the 2016 Best of Senior Living Award by SeniorAdvisor.com for in-home senior care.
People who are facing end-of-life decisions will generally find that funding options for care are more available than those who need assistive living, dementia care, or nursing home care. Most private insurers cover hospice care. Medicare recipients will find that hospice services are covered under Part A of their plans. They may be required to pay small co-pays for some services such as medication and certain other types of care.
The state of Illinois has not always covered hospice care under Medicaid. When the state finally decided to include hospice coverage, the benefit was short-lived. It ended in 1995 due to cost-saving measures for the financially strapped state. Eldercare advocates worked quickly to get the benefit reinstated. Currently, Chicagoans can bill Medicaid for hospice care. Veterans will find funding for hospice care through their medical insurer, TRICARE. The funding extends to dependents of veterans.
Families who lack other sources of funding for hospice services will need to pay privately. Many facilities offer convenient payment plans and sliding scale fees for families who face financial hardships. Non-profit facilities often receive financial support from generous sponsors. Those funds may be used to fund care on a charitable basis for people who can’t afford it.
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