Hospice care can help both patients and their family members handle the challenges that come with a terminal illness. Hospice combines both medical and emotional support to create a care schedule that helps patients deal with things like pain and the five stages of grief. It also provides counseling and supportive services for family members. Many patients decide to get hospice care at home, but services might also be available at places like hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Hospice care uses a team of doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, social workers, and possible members of the clergy to administer care.
The benefits of hospice have been researched and include a better quality of life and less depression in patients that used these services. The National Association Home Care & Hospice looked at a few of these studies to highlight the benefits of hospice care and also found that hospice patients experience less pain and live longer due to proper palliative care.
California requires all hospice agencies to have a license, and the Department of Public Health handles that process. Some groups are also Medicare and Medicaid approved and a few even seek out further accreditation from independent boards like the Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP).
After you have found agencies that are properly licensed. look at the providers that have a history of quality and compassionate care. They should also have an extensive list of services so they can meet any need you have and be able to coordinate all your care and services. You can ask around for suggestions from friends, neighbors, and relatives, or you can talk to your doctor and get a referral. Online sites that rank agencies or include reviews can also help you narrow down your search.
Hospice care is more expensive than other long-term care because there are more people and services involved in your care. The national average for hospice costs is $190.80 per day for routine care. In Orange County, that daily cost goes up to $214.32. For comparison, in-home care in Orange County costs about $133 per day, and facility care can be anywhere from $132 to $410 daily depending on where you go and what services you use.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options for paying for hospice care. Medicare usually doesn’t cover the cost of things like nursing homes or assisted living, but they will cover 100% of most hospice services. Part A policyholders might have to pay a small copay for services and medication. Medicaid in California also covers hospice and military members, and their dependents can use TRICARE for hospice coverage. There is a chance your private insurance also covers hospice, so check your policy.
If by chance none of these situations work for you, hospice providers might be able to work out a payment plan that fits your budget or operate on a sliding scale. There are also some people eligible for charitable care.
Many nursing homes and assisted living communities offer hospice services, like Regents Point. Alzheimer’s communities also often provide hospice care along with their memory care services. Irvine Cottage and Atria Woodbridge both have these services as does Atria Golden Creek, winner of SeniorAdvisor.com 2017 Best of Senior Living Award.
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