Hospice care is a particular type of care that focuses on quality of life for people who are experiencing a life-threatening disease. At some point, it may not be possible to cure a serious illness, or the person may choose to forgo certain treatments. When this happens, the patient can take advantage of hospice care, which will help them navigate their end-of-life needs.
Even though hospice care is a favorable type of care that’s designed to alleviate pain and trauma, many people have negative thoughts about it. But hospice care is not scary or frightening, and it does not shorten a person’s life. Instead, it provides comfort, care, and quality of life for the patient and their family.
Here are five things you may not know about hospice care.
1. Hospice care is a holistic approach.
While people often associate hospice care with symptom management, it’s actually a holistic type of care that addresses a person’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. Your loved one will have a hospice care team that consists of doctors, nurses, and home health aides, as well as social workers and spiritual counselors of all faiths. Having such a diverse team ensures that patients and families get support during this difficult time.
2. Bereavement services are typically included.
Losing a loved one is never easy, but you do not have to travel this path alone. Hospice bereavement counselors are available to guide family members through the stages of grief. These services are offered to friends and family for about 13 months after a loved one passes. If you feel that you need more than what’s being offered, bereavement counselors can connect you to additional resources in your community.
3. Hospice care can be delivered in the home.
Hospice is a type of care, not a place. Therefore, your loved one can receive hospice services in the home. This is reassuring news because studies have shown that 80 percent of people prefer to die at home, if possible. Of course, if your loved one resides in an assisted living facility or nursing home, or they are in the hospital, they can still receive hospice services.
4. People can live longer with hospice care.
Some people assume that accepting hospice care is ‘throwing in the towel,’ but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a study from the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that hospice extended life by an average of 29 days. Even though the goal of hospice is to keep the patient comfortable, it can prolong life by preventing the risks of over-treatment, offering additional monitoring, and attending to the patient’s emotional needs.
5. Hospice care is a covered benefit.
Many treatments require a significant amount of money, even with insurance. But hospice is not one of them. Hospice care is a covered benefit through Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans. To qualify for this care, your doctor will need to certify that you have a life expectancy of 6 months or less.
VNA Health Group provides hospice care and bereavement services. Our interdisciplinary team includes hospice-certified doctors, nurses, therapists, medical social workers, chaplains, and home health aides. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how they can help you during this difficult transition.