The best time to start researching options for medical care is right now, before you or your loved one is in a dire situation where care is needed immediately. That allows you to carefully assess your choices, interview potential providers and physicians and make an informed decision. To help get you started, here are a few common questions we hear from families while they're learning about end of life care options like our hospice care services.
Where do referrals for hospice care come from?
A common misconception about hospice care is that patients need a physician's referral to begin care. In actuality, anyone involved in the patient's care can suggest that they begin hospice care. That includes family members, friends, clergy and other caregivers. The primary requirement for a patient to qualify for hospice care is that they've been diagnosed with a terminal illness. That diagnosis must come from a physician, and state that the life expectancy for the patient is six months or less. That does not mean the physician must then refer the patient to a hospice provider, however. It also doesn't mean the patient can only receive hospice care for six months.
What is the cost of hospice care?
The cost related to hospice care does not need to be a concern for most patients. Those with Medicare have the costs of care related to their illness completely covered. That includes hospice services, as well as prescription medication specifically for their diagnosis and its related symptoms, medical equipment and medical supplies. Those without Medicare are invited to consult with us at Cura-HPC to explore alternative options.
Where is the hospice facility?
This question stems from a misunderstanding of hospice care. Hospice isn't a physical location and there is no dedicated facility we use to administer care. That relates to one of the primary benefits of hospice services. Rather than having to be in a medical facility, most patients are able to stay in their own homes and have services and medical professionals come to them. This enhances the comfort of the patient as they stay in familiar surroundings, and often makes it easier for friends and family to visit and spend more time with them. It also provides the opportunity to provide additional, non-traditional care or allow patients to have experiences they wouldn't be able to from a hospital bed.
Does starting hospice care mean you're giving up?
This concern is often the primary reason a family or individual patient holds off on starting hospice services. They think that hospice care is only for those that are ready to die. While patients in hospice care have terminal illnesses, and hospice services are intended to provide end of life care, the benefits hospice provides improve the quality of life for patients. Rather than giving up, hospice gives patients an opportunity to fully live during the time they have remaining. Rather than spending that time in a haze created by prescription medicine, or in pain due to aggressive treatments, they're able to be conscious and alert, often pain free, and able to enjoy their loved ones and their favorite activities.
If you have additional questions about hospice care, please contact us at Cura-HPC by calling 800-797-3839.