When you or someone close to you suffers from an illness or condition that does not come with any type of cure, you may want to consider a type of care known as hospice care. If you are not familiar with hospice, this is a type of care aimed at assisting individuals who are estimated by their doctor to have six months or less to live. You might be considering obtaining hospice care for a loved one or someone close to you.  It’s important that you’re aware of what this care entails and the types of services provided with it. Additionally, this may include home health care.

What Is Hospice?

Hospice is a type of care that is provided to people who only have a short amount of time to live. The goal of hospice is to make sure that these individuals receive proper care and are as comfortable as possible in the time that they have left.  Patients receive individualized care.  These care plans can address a wide range of issues that include physical, spiritual, and emotional pain.

Provided assistance is available whenever necessary to the family caregivers of the patient in question. Hospice refers to this as bereavement support.  In the event the patient has passed away, availability remains offerable. Most hospices believe that the overall quality of life provided for a person is as important as their length of life.

Types of Services Offered With Hospice Care

Most reputable hospices follow guidelines set forth by Medicare on how to take care of an individual and manage their illness. The myriad of services provided through hospice care include:

  • Physical therapy as well as occupational therapy
  • Short-term care in a home or inpatient setting
  • Short-term care offering a respite to family caregivers having emotional difficulties brought about during care
  • Counseling for the patient as well as their loved ones
  • Counseling on how to maintain a healthy and effective diet
  • The provision of medications for the relief or management of symptoms caused by the terminal illness
  • The administration of a wide range of medical equipment that includes bandages, walkers, and wheelchairs

There are also some hospice services available for you to select but aren’t covered by Medicare. Something that you should be aware of.  Generally, Medicare doesn’t cover treatments that can cure your illness or are completely unrelated to that specific terminal illness. Administered care in an emergency room or nursing home is also not covered.

Eligibility For Hospice Care

When attempting to determine whether or not you or someone you know is eligible for hospice care, there are a variety of factors to take into account. In order for you to fully qualify for the services provided through hospice, a standard physician, as well as a hospice physician, will need to certify that you meet the necessary criteria for obtaining these services. The primary criteria require patients requesting hospice care to have a life expectancy that is set at six months or less. In the event that the condition or disease progresses as it’s been diagnosed.

In some cases, an individual may live past the original six months. If this occurs, hospice generally extends its coverage. Specifically, if their condition causes the decline in their overall health. If their health improves, and it appears as though the original life expectancy is substantially longer than believed, it’s possible for the patient being discharged from hospice. Hospice care remains available in the event of being discharged from hospice but your condition eventually declines again.

Hospice Solely for Cancer Patients?

Many people believe that hospice specifically accepts individuals diagnosed with cancer.   This is not always the case. There is a range of additional diseases and conditions that hospice patients may have.  This may range from dementia and lung disease to heart disease. Anyone diagnosed with an illness or disease that is life-limiting will likely be eligible for this care.

Is Hospice Provided At Home?

When you are thinking of obtaining hospice care, you may be wondering where provided care occurs. In the majority of situations, it’s possible to receive this type of care from the comforts of your own home. The hospice team will be able to assist with a wide range of everyday tasks. This also includes household chores that you may be unable to complete yourself. If you or the individual close to you suffers from a substantial amount of pain, the control and management of this pain can be a priority for the hospice team.

Most individuals want to remain at home in their final days.  This is why most hospice services tailor to this expectancy. The hospice team in charge of your care can consist of additional professionals. This may include massage therapists and dietitians, which allows you to obtain the level of care that you deserve. Many of these individuals will also be able to provide you with friendship and companionship. All of which is especially important for people who live alone.

VNA & Hospice has been delivering Home Healthcare services for people living throughout Monterey and San Benito Counties as well as the southern portions of both Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties.