What is Hospice Care?
The National Hospice and Palliative Organization (NPHCO) considers hospice to be the model for quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury. Hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Support is provided to the patient’s loved ones as well. At the center of hospice and palliative care is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.
Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and, in most cases, care is provided in the patient’s home. Hospice care also is provided in freestanding hospice centers, hospitals, and nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness. Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations.
How does Hospice Care work?
Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the patient. Members of our hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. Our hospice staff is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.
The patient and their hospice care team will develop a plan of care that meets each patient’s individual needs for pain management and symptom control. Our team usually consists of:
- The patient and their caregivers.
- The patient’s personal physician;
- Hospice physician (or medical director);
- Home health aides;
- Social workers;
- Trained volunteers;
- Speech, physical, and occupational therapists, if needed.
What services are provided?
Among its major responsibilities, the interdisciplinary hospice team:
- Manages the patient’s pain and symptoms;
- Assists the patient with the emotional and psychosocial and spiritual aspects of dying;
- Provides needed drugs, medical supplies, and equipment;
- Coaches the family on how to care for the patient;
- Delivers special services like speech and physical therapy when needed;
- Makes short-term inpatient care (called respite care) available when the caregiver needs respite time;
- Provides bereavement care and counseling to family and friends.
There are major differences in the way hospice care is delivered.
Medicare mandates minimum levels of care and minimum required services. That is where Hospice Care is different. There are many benefits to the patient that are left to the discretion of the provider. Make sure you understand the Champion Hospice services difference.