Hospice Care

Hospice care centers on ensuring comfort and preserving dignity for individuals nearing the end of their lives. It encompasses a range of supportive services and care that can greatly benefit both patients in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, as well as their families.

How does one initiate hospice care

Hospice services are typically available for as long as they are necessary. If an individual receiving hospice care lives beyond six months, the services are generally still covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurance plans. This coverage is contingent upon a physician recertifying that the person remains terminally ill and meets the requirements for hospice care. It is advisable to verify coverage with the respective insurance provider.

What are the costs associated with hospice care?

Hospice care is typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurance plans. Medicare, for instance, does not require deductibles, and only limited coinsurance payments are necessary for hospice services. To qualify for Medicare coverage of hospice care, certain conditions must be met, such as the person receiving care having Medicare Part A, certification by the person’s physician and a hospice medical director of a terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less, and a waiver of Medicare’s payment for other services related to the terminal illness. Instead, Medicare covers the hospice and related physician expenses, while continuing to cover any services unrelated to the terminal illness. In cases where an individual does not have coverage, some hospice services may be made possible through community donations.

What are some important considerations when selecting a hospice provider?

When choosing a hospice provider, there are several questions that can help guide your decision-making process:
1. Does the provider offer a 24/7 call line for support and assistance?
2. Do the workers at the hospice have experience in providing care to patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementias?
3. How long has the hospice agency been in operation?
4. Does the hospice offer specialized services to enhance the patient’s comfort, particularly in cases of Alzheimer’s?
5. Is the hospice program Medicare certified?