When a patient has a terminal illness or nears the end of their life, they might use hospice care to ease their pain and support their family members. Hospice services use a combination of medical care and emotional support to help both patients and family members through this trying time. Care might include things like medical attention, counseling services for family members, pain management, therapy, and other supportive services. A patient might choose to stay at home to receive care, but they can also get hospice through the hospital or nursing homes and dementia care communities.
Hospice care is an important tool for patients and their families, and in studies cited by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, it’s shown to help lessen bouts of depression and improve the quality of life for those who use it. Hospice patients might also live longer and with less pain because they receive the proper palliative care.
In Nebraska, all hospice agencies must have a license through the Department of Health and Human Services. Some organizations might also seek accreditation through independent groups like the Community Health Accreditation Partner or CHAP. There are also agencies certified for Medicare and Medicaid services.
After licensing, hospice agencies should have a history of compassionate and quality care. It’s important that they have enough staff and services to meet your needs as well as the needs of your family. They should also be adept at coordinating a care schedule, so you don’t have to worry about that. Ask your family members and neighbors for suggestions and seek a referral from your health care provider. You can also use online sites to read reviews and rankings of local providers.
Because there are more services and more people providing those services in hospice care, it tends to be more expensive than other long-term care options. Lincoln in-home care costs average between $144 and $150 per day while facility costs average between $152 and $240 depending on your needs. Hospice will only add to those averages.
The good news is you might not have to pay for hospice care because there are more programs available to cover your costs. Medicare, for example, does not pay for nursing homes or assisted living but they will cover most hospice costs for Part A policy holders. This includes medication and recipients might only have to pay a small copay. Nebraska Medicaid also covers hospice services, and TRICARE takes care of hospice for military members and their families. Private insurance companies usually cover hospice, so check your policy to see if that’s true for you.
There are some cases where none of these options will work, and if that’s true for you, there are a few more options. Hospice agencies might be able to work out a payment plan that fits your budget or operates on a sliding scale. In some instances, you might be eligible for charitable care.
You can find plenty of hospice providers here in Lincoln including Homestead Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, Nebraska Healthcare Association, and Holmes Lake Rehabilitation & Care Center. Both High Plains Special Care Center and Bickford of Lincoln offer Alzheimer's care and hospice services, and they both are winners of SeniorAdvisor.com’s 2017 Best of Senior Living Award.
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