End-of-life care, or hospice care, can begin when the prognosis for a terminal illness is six to twelve months. Many people rely on hospice to deliver comfortable care and manage the pain and symptoms of an end stage illness or disease. Studies show that hospice care patients actually live longer than patients not receiving the end-of-life care.
A community hospice team also delivers bereavement support, counseling, and respite care to the family members and caregivers of each patient. A team composes of physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, and volunteers.
If you or a loved one is suffering from one of these terminal conditions, consider speaking to your physician about hospice:
Congestive heart failure
End stage dementia
Lou Gehrig’s disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Complications from AIDS
There are more conditions that qualify for hospice. Check with a local hospice care provider to see if your illness is covered.
Finding a community team of compassionate and caring professionals is easier than you may think. Providers in Texas must be licensed and certified by the state and most choose to seek accreditation through CHAP, the Community Health Accreditation Partner. This independent board hosts a database of accredited providers in Texas and throughout the country, including those certified through Medicare and Medicaid.
Texas Medicaid and Medicare Part A both fully cover hospice care as long as the services are ordered by your hospice team and your physician has certified that you require hospice during the length of service. Since you are using several different aspects of hospice care, the costs are higher (and vary) than seen in other types of care. The average Medicare spending for a hospice patient in 2010 was $10,700. Medicare pays for the majority of all hospice patients.
If you have private health insurance, it may cover hospice care if it is specifically listed. TRICARE, the insurance widely used by military families, covers hospice care for veterans and their spouses. If you do not qualify for any of these, your hospice provider may suggest a charitable organization that can help or offer you payment plan alternatives.
There are more than two dozen hospice agencies in Fort Worth and dozens of assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and Alzheimer’s care centers that provide hospice care to their residents. You can find hospice providers online, including:
Hospice is available at facilities like Colonial Gardens Fort Worth, Lakewood Village Retirement Community, and Sunrise of Fort Worth, winners of SeniorAdvisor.com’s Best of Senior Living in 2016 award. Other facilities include Avalon Memory Care, Brookdale Westover Hills, and Bethesda Gardens Fort Worth.
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