Where does hospice care take place?
The majority of hospice patients are cared for in their own homes or the homes of a loved one. “Home” may also be broadly construed to include services provided in nursing homes, assisted living centers, hospitals…wherever the patient considers to be home.
How is hospice care paid for?
Most people receiving hospice care are covered by the Medicare hospice benefit. This benefit covers virtually all aspects of hospice care with little out-of-pocket expense to the patient or family. As a result, the financial burdens usually associated with caring for a terminally ill patient are virtually nonexistent. In addition, most private health plans and Medicaid in most states and the District of Columbia cover hospice services.
Who qualifies for hospice care?
Hospice care is for any person who has a life-threatening or terminal illness. Most reimbursement sources require a prognosis of six months or less if the illness runs its normal course. All hospices consider the patient and family together as the unit of care.
What role do volunteers play in hospice care?
Hospice provides trained volunteers to aid the family and patients. Most hospice volunteers are trained to relieve the primary caregivers, do household chores, and help bathe the patients. Perhaps the most important task, however, is their ability to be “good listeners.” Volunteers also support the work of the hospice program that might not involve patient or family interaction.