A terminal illness can be devastating for everyone involved, both patient and their family members. Hospice care is often used during this time, and by combining medical and emotional support, these services can ease pain, stress, and grief. Hospice care might include things like pain management, respite care, counseling services, medical attention, and therapy. While some patients want to get hospice care in their home, hospitals and nursing homes also offer hospice. Doctors, nurses, nursing aides, therapists, social workers, and others will create a care team to provide you with the services you need.
Hospice helps patients decrease depression and have a better quality of life near the end of their life. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice highlighted studies that showed hospice patients also lived longer and with less pain because they got the proper palliative care compared to their non-hospice counterparts.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look for a hospice provider. First, Virginia requires that all hospice agencies have a license to operate. The Department of Health oversees issuing and renewing licenses. It isn’t required for agencies to have any other accreditation but many are Medicare and Medicaid approved. Some providers even seek additional certification with groups like Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP).
Once you ensure you have providers with licenses, look for agencies that have a track record of quality and compassionate care. Because you might need many different services, make sure the agency has an extensive list of care. They should also be able to handle coordinating all your care and team members. Talk to your friends and family to find local places or get a referral from your health care provider. Online reviews are also helpful to your research.
Hospice is an expensive care option because more people and services are needed. Medicare estimates that national costs for hospice care are around $190.80 per day while in Norfolk the per capita costs are $292.13 daily. That price is higher than the average for in-home care in Norfolk, which is $116 to $119 daily and in line with the averages of $145 to $245 for facility care.
You can find more help paying for hospice care, though, compared to other long-term care. Medicare doesn’t pay for assisted living or nursing homes but will cover hospice. Part A recipients might have to pay a small copay but will get 100% coverage for most services and medications. Virginia Medicaid also covers hospice, and TRICARE takes care of hospice for military and their dependents. Many private insurance companies also offer hospice coverage.
If you still can’t afford hospice care, talk with the agency and see if they will create a payment plan or operate on a sliding scale rate to fit your budget. Charitable care is also an option with some providers.
Norfolk has plenty of choices for hospice care and many nursing homes like Envoy of Thorton Hall, Harbour Pointe Medical and Rehabilitation Center, and Norfolk Health Care Center all include hospice among their services. Many memory care communities like Province Place at De Paul have hospice. Commonwealth Memory Care even won 2017 Best of Senior Living Award, and they provide hospice services.
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