End-of-life care, or hospice care, isn’t just for a patient’s last days. The comprehensive service is available for patients facing terminal illnesses or diseases with no cure with a six to twelve month prognosis. These conditions can include (but not limited to): cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, end stage dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and the complications from AIDS.
The hospice team is made up of doctors, nurses, counselors, health aides, social workers, clergy, and volunteers. This community team provides comfort to the patient as they spend time with their family and friends. The patient’s quality of life is increased through symptom and pain management. Hospice is available at assisted living communities, skilled nursing facilities, and at the patient’s home. The team’s focus is on the patient, however family members and caregivers also benefit with counseling services, bereavement support, and respite care.
Patients can still remain with their primary physician and continue certain treatments if they provide comfort to the patient. These can include physical therapy and radiation treatments.
Before hiring a hospice service, check online for ratings and reviews. Many of these reviews are written by the families of hospice patients. You want a hospice team that can deliver compassionate care and professionalism while you maintain your dignity. Your friends and family may also have recommendations for hospice services in your area.
Hospice providers must be licensed and certified in the State of Oklahoma and most are also accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Partner, known as CHAP. You can find a database of accredited hospice providers on CHAP’s website that includes Medicare and Medicaid certified providers.
The Oklahoma Medicaid Program, known as Oklahoma Health Care Authority, covers hospice care with a small copayment of $3 per hospice visit. Medicare Part A fully covers hospice care as long as the services are ordered by the hospice team. If there are any copayments involved, it is typically for medications used during the length of service.
Veterans and military families are fully covered for hospice care through TRICARE and most private insurance cover the end-of-life care. You should check your policy to make sure hospice is specifically listed as a covered entity. If you do not qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid, or do not have health insurance, ask your hospice provider for referrals to charitable organizations. Many keep a list of organizations and associations that can help. The service provider may also give you payment plan alternatives.
You can find plenty of skilled nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and Alzheimer’s care centers in Oklahoma City that provide hospice care. Some of these facilities include The Mansion at Waterford, Brookdale Quail Creek, Alterra Clare Bridge of Oklahoma City, Timberwood Assisted Living, Brookdale Village, and Emerald Square. If you would prefer to contact a hospice agency, there are more than a dozen, including Oklahoma Hospice Care and Hospice Quality Care, Inc.
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