Hospice care, also known as end-of-life care, serves the patient, family, and caregiver during the last six to twelve months of an end stage illness or disease. These conditions can include Alzheimer’s disease, end stage dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease, liver disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, complications from AIDS, and more.
The patient is given pain and symptom management in order to live comfortably and spend time with their family. The family and caregiver also receive support services like respite care and bereavement counseling. Since hospice care can begin earlier, the patient has more time to be with family and reflect.
Hospice care coordinates with doctors, nurses, specialists, counselors, health aides, clergy, and volunteers. You can receive end-of-life care at home or in an assisted living facility or nursing home. Not all treatments need to be stopped before hospice care can be included, depending on your situation. If certain treatments like radiation therapy or physical therapy brings comfort, it may be included.
Hospice providers in Michigan are required to be licensed and certified to operate, although they do not need a Certificate of Need. Most are also accredited through the Community Health Accreditation Partner, referred to as CHAP. This independent board also hosts a national database of hospice providers, including providers that accept Medicare and Medicaid. The providers that accept these federally funded benefits must pass additional and more stringent requirements to retain certification.
You can find listings for hospice services online with reviews and ratings. You will want tour or interview any prospective service providers to confirm requirements are being met and the community team works together to deliver quality care.
Hospice costs more than typical senior care due to the varied services you have access to during this time. Medicare Part A does cover hospice 100 percent, but not room and board at an assisted living facility. It will cover services ordered by your hospice care team as long as your physician has qualified you for hospice. Michigan Medicaid also covers hospice as well as TRICARE, the insurance for military families and veterans. Most private insurances also cover hospice care, but you will need to confirm that hospice is listed under your covered services.
If you do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid or do not have insurance, the hospice provider may recommend affordable payment plans, sliding scale fees based on income, or a charitable organization that is willing to help with the expense.
Detroit is home to close to a dozen hospice agencies and providers. You can find several agencies online including Hospice of Michigan, Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care, Universal Hospice Care, Inc., Southern Care Services, and Angela Hospice Home Care. Assisted living communities, skilled nursing facilities, and Alzheimer’s care centers also offer hospice at many locations, including: St. Joseph’s Manor, Living Well Assisted Living, Henry Ford Village, and Alternative Adult Residence.
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