Every day, Americans make end-of-life decisions based on their personal preferences and financial circumstances. As the end of life nears, patients and their families are usually given the option of palliative and/or hospice care. Today, we are going to talk about hospice care-at-home and why it’s more affordable than most people think.
How is Hospice Care Different?
Unlike palliative care, hospice care is not combined with curative treatments. Once a terminally ill patient chooses to stop treatment, hospice care becomes an option. The goal of hospice care at-home is to supply the highest quality of living possible by reducing pain and discomfort while providing emotional, spiritual and family support.
Hospice is not tied to a particular place. Patients can receive hospice care in a nursing home, hospital or at home. Studies show that 80% of Americans prefer to die in their homes, though only 20% do. The gap in numbers likely comes from the fact that many patients require specialized equipment and skilled nursing care that is usually provided in a hospital setting.
For those who can receive hospice home care, it’s an excellent choice that can make the end-of-life process much easier for the patient and their family.
Who Pays for Hospice Home Care?
As long as you meet all eligibility requirements (more on this below), Part A of Medicare covers 100% of hospice services under the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
- Nursing care
- Physician services
- Inpatient care
- Medical social worker services
- Medical supplies
- Physical and occupational therapies
- Family bereavement services
The only things not covered by Medicare or Medicaid are emergency care and ambulance rides, room and board and prescription drugs for curative treatment.
Who is Eligible to Receive the Medicare Hospice Benefit?
In order to receive the Medicare Hospice Benefit, you must be 65 years old or older, diagnosed with a serious illness, agree to forgo curative treatment and be given six months or less to live. The hospice provider must also be Medicare-approved.
If these requirements are not met, the hospice care you receive may not be covered in full by Medicare or Medicaid. In this case, you can turn to other options, such as private insurance. If hospice services are needed after six months, the insurance company typically re-evaluates the patient’s condition and makes a decision to continue coverage.
For more information about receiving hospice care in the comfort of home, contact VNA Health Group. We are happy to explain the benefits of hospice care and help you navigate paying for end-of-life services.