When a patient nears the end of their life, hospice services can help support both them and their family members. Hospice care is a combination of medical and emotional care and could include things like pain management, medical attention, various therapies, counseling services, and anything else the patient needs during this time. Many people decide to get hospice care in their home, but nursing homes, hospitals, and dementia care communities also offer hospice services. Doctors, nurses, certified nursing aides, therapists, social workers, and sometimes members of the clergy will make up a care team and will provide care for the patient.
Hospice is beneficial in so many ways, and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice highlights a few studies that show hospice patients have a better quality of life and fewer incidents of depression than non-hospice patients. The proper palliative care can also mean a patient will live longer with less pain.
Florida requires all hospice agencies to have a license as well as a certificate of need. The Agency for Health Care Administration handles all licensing and certification. It isn’t required, but a few agencies also decide to get accredited through independent boards like Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP). You can also find Medicare and Medicaid approved agencies.
Once you have a list of properly licensed providers, look for hospice care that has an excellent record of quality care and compassionate workers. It’s crucial that they offer a variety of services to meet your needs and can handle the coordination of all your care schedules. Your health care provider can give you a referral to an agency, or you can talk with trusted friends and relatives for suggestions. If you look online, you can find reviews and rankings that might be helpful in your search.
Typically, hospice costs will be higher than other long-term services because they require more care and more people. The national average for hospice costs is $190.80 per day and St. Petersburg tends to be in line with national averages. For reference, in-home care services in the Tampa Bay area are about $119 to $125 per day and facility care could be anywhere from $110 to $295 daily.
The good news is that even though hospice is expensive, more programs exist to help you pay. Medicare, which typically doesn’t pay for long-term care like assisted living or nursing homes, will cover Part A recipient’s medication and hospice services. You might have to pay a small copay though. Medicaid in Florida covers hospice and TRICARE is for military members and their dependents. Even private insurance companies often cover hospice, so check your policy.
You might not fit into any of these situations, and if you still can’t afford hospice, there are a few more options. Some agencies might be willing to work on a sliding scale rate or create a payment plan, and a few offer charitable care.
St. Petersburg is home to many hospice providers, and there are a few places that include hospice in their many services. Westminster Palms, Westminster Suncoast, and Bristol Court are all assisted living facilities that offer hospice as part of their services. If you need memory care, Alzheimer’s communities like Inspired Living at Ivy Ridge and Grand Villa of St. Petersburg have hospice services.
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