Hospice care, also referred to as end-of-life care, focuses primarily on the patient receiving pain and symptom management in a comfortable setting during the end stage of a terminal illness or disease. These conditions can include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, end stage dementia, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke, congestive heart failure, and AIDS.
Hospice care does not need to occur only in the last few days of a patient’s life, but can begin with a six to twelve month prognosis. The patient’s family and caregivers also receive support from the community hospice team that includes doctors, nurses, health aides, counselors, social workers, clergy, and volunteers. The family will receive bereavement support and caregivers can use respite care when they need a break or time off.
You can receive hospice care while staying in an assisted living facility, skilled nursing home, Alzheimer’s care center, or at your own home.
A hospice service works as a coordinated team to deliver a high standard of professional and compassionate care to you and your family when you need it most. You will want to look for a hospice provider that is licensed and certified in the State of Kentucky. They can also hold certifications from Medicare and Medicaid which has stricter federal requirements.
You can also find accredited hospice providers on the CHAP national database. This database is maintained by the Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP), an independent accreditation board. As you make a list of hospice providers to interview and tour, look for reviews online written by family members of hospice patients.
Since hospice consists of a team of services, the cost typically varies between patients and locations. Medicare pays a set amount to a hospice provider for each day with specific amounts budgeted for continuous care, in-home care, and inpatient respite care. In 2010, the Medicare spending was $10,700 per hospice patient on average. Medicare Part A will cover hospice services 100 percent, as well as Kentucky Medicaid. If you are required to pay a small copayment, it will be for medication used during the length of service. TRICARE, the insurance for military families and vets, covers hospice.
If you have private health insurance, check to see if hospice is a covered benefit of the policy. If not, the hospice provider may be able to offer payment plans or sliding scale fees based on your income.
Several assisted living communities, Alzheimer’s care facilities, and nursing homes provide hospice programs to their residents when required. You can find palliative care at facilities like Atria Stony Brook, Atria Springdale, Brookdale Blankenbaker, Belmont Village St. Matthews, and Sunrise of Louisville. If you prefer to use a hospice agency for in-home care, you can find several online, including Hosparus-Hospice of Louisville, Amedisys Hospice, Kindred at Home, and Hosparus Southern Indiana and Grief Counseling Center.
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