Elder woman and her caretaker

Understanding Hospice Care

Hospice care focuses on quality of life for people who are suffering from a serious, life-limiting illness or disease. Hospice care provides holistic, compassionate care that promotes living life as comfortably and fully as possible.

Hospice care seeks to neither hasten nor postpone death. The philosophy involves treating the patient and symptoms of the disease, rather than treating the disease itself. A team of specialized healthcare professionals work together to manage symptoms so that a person’s last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice care also addresses the needs of the family. Patients and their family will be activitly engaged in making patient-centered care decisions.

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Where do I receive Hospice Care?

Hospice care is provided anywhere you call home. This may be your private residence or that of a loved one, a hospital, assisted living center, or nursing home. Lighthouse Hospice nurses and physicians work on-call 24/7 to provide the care you need where you need to receive it. 

When should I start Hospice?

Deciding when it's time for hospice can be difficult and should be discussed with your loved ones and a physician. Hospice care is used when a medical treatment for a serious, life-limiting illness or disease can no longer cure or control the symptoms. It is generally time for hospice when 

  • The patient has 6 months or less to live, according to a physician, if the illness or disease runs its typical course..

  • The patient is rapidly declining despite medical treatment (weight loss, mental status decline, inability perform activities of daily living).

  • The patient is ready to live more comfortably, forego treatments aimed at prolonging life, and would like to receive care at home instead of the hospital setting.

Who qualifies for Hospice?

Though Hospice was initially known for it's care of cancer patients during the 1970s, today, more than half of hospice patients have other illnesses for which they are medically eligible for hospice services. These include, but are not limited to, late-stage heart, lung or kidney disease, and advanced Alzheimer's disease or dementia, etc.

 

Many other illnesses and diseases medically qualify a patient for hospice services.

Who pays for Hospice Care?

The Medicare Hospice Benefit is an inclusive benefit, which means all services that are related to the terminal illness are covered up to 100% by Medicare Part A.

 

Care that is unrelated to the terminal illness continues to be covered by Medicare Parts A and B, with all normal rules applicable (e.g., co-payments, coverage guidelines and deductibles).

 

Hospice care should not be delayed due to financial concerns – most insurances have a hospice benefit, and our team can help navigate the process and benefits.