When there is no cure for a terminal illness or disease, many patients turn to end-of-life care for emotional and psychological support, pain and symptom management, and a comfortable setting with family and friends present. End-of-life care, also known as hospice, can begin as early as the twelve month prognosis. Medicare will cover hospice at the six month prognosis. A coordinated team will work together to provide care whether you are living in a skilled nursing facility, assisted living community, or at home. Your team may include a counselor, doctor, nurse, social worker, home health aide, clergy, and volunteers. Studies indicate that patients receiving hospice care live longer than those not receiving the extra care. The benefits are not only for the patients. Family members and caregivers can receive support in the form of counseling, bereavement help, and respite care.
The following is a list of end stage conditions commonly seen in hospice care:
Congestive heart failure
End stage dementia
Lou Gehrig’s disease
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Complications from AIDS
Hospice providers in Arizona must be licensed and certified by the state. Most providers choose to be accredited by CHAP, the Community Health Accreditation Partner. CHAP keeps an updated database of hospice providers in Arizona and throughout the United States. Many of these accredited providers are also Medicare and Medicaid certified.
The cost for hospice care varies due to the many services you have access to compared to the ones your personal circumstances calls for during the length of service. Medicare Part A covers hospice fully and pays a set amount to the hospice provider. These amounts are split into categories including inpatient respite care, continuous care, and in-home care. In 2010, Medicare paid an average of $10,700 per hospice patient.
Arizona’s Medicaid Program under the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and the Long-Term Care Plan covers hospice care for residents. If you are a veteran or the spouse of a vet, you are covered under TRICARE for hospice services in your area. The majority of private insurances cover hospice as long as it is specifically named in the policy. If you do not qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid, ask your hospice provider about alternative payment plans and sliding scale fees.
You can find close to two dozen hospice providers in Phoenix, as well as hospice programs in assisted living communities, nursing homes, and Alzheimer’s care facilities. You can find listings for hospice agencies online, including Sacred Heart Hospice, Prime Care Hospice, Optum Palliative and Hospice Care, and Infinity Hospice Care. Facilities, like Brookdale Christown, La Siena, Mountain Park Senior Living, and a SeniorAdvisor.com Best of 2016 award winner The Sanctuary of Phoenix, have hospice programs available to seniors.
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