The need for hospice care is often ignored or overlooked until the time comes when it is necessary. While hospice care is not something you need to consider until the final weeks or months of a senior’s life, if you don’t understand how hospice care works, selecting a provider can be even more stressful and confusing when the time comes.
Regardless of how far you are from considering hospice care, it is important to know who makes up a hospice care team, where to find the right care team for you, and how it is paid for.
A hospice care team includes more than just doctors and nurses. The level of support you and your family receive from friends, family, and the community will likely influence the number of individuals you will need on your hospice care team. Here are some of the many individuals who you may utilize during hospice care:
Your primary doctor will work directly with a hospice doctor to create a plan that meets the senior’s medical needs, maintains comfort, and reduces pain.
The nurses and home health aides on your hospice care team will work with the doctors to monitor the senior’s health and help carry out the decided upon plan.
If necessary, homemaking aides and trained volunteers can assist the family in running errands and performing chores so that family members can spend as much time as possible with the seniors.
For emotional support, your hospice team may also include social workers and counselors. If the senior is spiritual, it may also include members of the clergy.
Your hospice care team will also usually include neighbors, friends of the family, and family members. The support you can receive from your community usually depends on how close the senior is with those around them, but you may be surprised at the number of people who step up to help out.
The needs of each individual will influence what level of hospice care is necessary and thus, how the care team is found. It is always important to discuss the senior’s specific needs with their doctors and nurses. They may also have a preference for which hospice care provider is used.
There are a number of hospice care providers in the Richmond area, some with specific interests or backgrounds that may be important for the senior. If the senior is a veteran, they may be able to receive hospice care from the area’s VA chapter. Additionally, churches can be a great resource when looking for faith-based hospice care providers.
The cost of hospice will depend on the services needed and who is providing the service. For veterans, the VA may be able to help with some financial aspects of the care provided. Most hospice care is covered under private insurers and with Medicare, but it will usually only cover what is considered necessary for hospice. This means it will not approve experimental treatments or additional medications or therapies aimed at fighting the senior’s condition.
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