What does it mean when a loved one is in the hospital and the hospital recommends discharging them to hospice? Should you question the decision, refuse their advice or accept their recommendation? Accepting hospice care is not an easy decision to make. You may be feeling like your medical providers are ‘giving up’ and you want to continue to advocate and fight for your loved one. It’s important to realize that hospice is a choice, and you can also choose your hospice provider. No one can force your loved one to be on hospice care, but understanding the role, benefits and support that hospice provides will be important as your family and loved one makes decisions about care.
Why Was Hospice Recommended
The hospital most likely has recommended hospice care because of the stage of your loved one’s illness and their life expectancy. Hospice becomes an option when physicians believe that curative treatments are no longer effective in fighting the disease or that the negative effects of aggressive treatment outweigh their benefits. Hospice is available when a medical provider believes that life expectancy is six months or less if your loved one’s disease follows its natural course. For your loved one, hospice is often preferred when their focus shifts to having a greater quality of life for the time that remains. It’s important to realize that remaining on hospice is also a choice, your loved one can withdraw from hospice care should a new treatment or cure become available. In fact, it is not uncommon to ‘graduate’ from hospice care because the expert care that hospice provides improves their health.
The Benefit of Hospice Care
Here are a few insights into why hospice may be the best option for your loved one.
Hospice Is Not About Giving Up. By referring your loved one to hospice care your physicians are not ‘giving up’ but actually suggesting more can be done to improve their quality of life. Hospice provides a large breadth of care, not only expertly caring for the symptoms of the disease but also for your loved one’s emotional, mental and spiritual well being.
Hospice Improves Quality of Life. Hospice focuses on relieving symptoms, reducing the burdens of illness and providing an extra layer of real support. The goal of hospice is not to cure the disease but to enable the highest quality of life possible for whatever time remains. The expert care hospice provides helps control symptoms, increases comfort, reduces stress and reduces hospital readmissions or ER visits. In fact, research shows that family members of patients receiving hospice care reported higher satisfaction, fewer concerns of care, increased quality of life and fewer unmet needs. Your loved one will gain full support from the UpliftedCare team including our physicians, nurses, CNAs, social workers, chaplains and volunteers.
Hospice is Expert Care. Hospice develops plans of care that are focused specifically for each individual patient and their diagnosis. Hospice provides disease-specific, expert care for diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s and other dementias, heart, lung, ALS, Parkinson’s, HIV, and liver and kidney disease.
Hospice Can Extend Life. Research shows that people on hospice care actually live longer than those not receiving hospice care. It’s not surprising, because hospice treats the whole person. When referring to hospice earlier patients gain better management of symptoms which can lead to the stabilization of their condition and living longer.
Hospice Provides Comfort and Peace of Mind. With hospice care you and your loved one will have access to a registered nurse 24/7. Hospice also provides caregiver support, education and resources to help you feel less overwhelmed and more prepared to navigate your role in caring for your loved one. UpliftedCare also provides education about the disease process, helping you understand your loved one’s disease and how to prepare for changing needs. In other words, you won’t walk this journey alone, we’ll be by your side.
Who Pays For Hospice Care?
In accordance with our Mission and thanks to the generous support of our community, UpliftedCare provides services regardless of ability to pay. Medicare and Medicaid have a Hospice Benefit that covers care, supplies and medications related to the hospice diagnosis. Many private insurance plans also pay for hospice care. Medicare and Medicaid recipients are never billed for hospice services. The cost for others (those who do not qualify for Medicare, Medicaid or insurance, or those who may owe co-pays or deductibles) is determined on a sliding fee scale.
We can help you and your family determine when hospice might be the best option. Reach out to us for guidance, answers and options.