End-of-life care, also known as hospice care, isn’t a place. It is the coordination of several services to give your loved one comfort. Hospice is typically used to not cure, but to manage pain and symptoms, while improving the patient’s quality of life as much as possible. Hospice can be utilized when the patient’s prognosis is six to twelve months. Recent studies show that patients with hospice care tend to live longer than patients not receiving the specialized care.
You can receive hospice care in an assisted living community, skilled nursing facility, or at home. The program is not only about providing comfort and care to the patient, but also including the family members and caregivers with comprehensive services. You can still use your primary physician and other specialists as hospice works as a community to coordinate with your providers. Patients suffering from cancer, congestive heart failure, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and complications from AIDS, can benefit from hospice care.
A hospice service in California must be licensed and certified in order to provide care to residents. Hospice programs accepting Medicare and Medicaid must meet additional requirements. In California, an agency or facility must hold a hospice license, but not necessarily a Certificate of Need, according to CHAP (Community Health Accreditation Partner). You can use CHAP’s database to find hospice providers, including those that accept Medicare and Medicaid.
Hospice care costs are higher and vary due to the services used and the patient’s specific situation and illness. Medicare pays for hospice service under Part A. In 2004, Medicare paid for 82 percent of all hospice care. This averaged to $6,500 per patient. Medicare will cover medication to manage your pain and symptoms. All of your hospice services must be arranged by your hospice provider in order to be covered.
Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid Program, also covers hospice 100 percent. If you or your loved one has TRICARE military insurance, hospice is a fully covered service. Check to see if your private insurance will cover palliative care. If you do not have insurance or do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, ask the hospice provider if they offer sliding scale fees.
Sacramento is home to several hospice services and facilities offering palliative care. This includes assisted living facilities, Alzheimer’s care centers, and skilled nursing homes. You can find several of these facilities online, including SeniorAdvisor.com Best of Senior Living 2016 winners, Carlton Plaza of Sacramento and Revere Court. Other facilities with hospice available include:
If you are more comfortable at home, then consider hiring a hospice agency to come into your home and provide services. You can find about a half dozen of these online, including Hospice: Sutter VNA, Sojourn Hospice and Palliative Care, Vitas Healthcare, California Hospice Foundation, and Absolute Compassion Hospice.
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