Benefits Of Hospice
- Hospice care not only helps with managing your symptoms, but also helps you and your family with emotional and spiritual support.
- You don't have to be ready for hospice. In fact, hospice doesn't expect you to be ready. You just have to be eligible for the services which can increase the quality of your life.
- Many people think that hospice care is for the last few days of life, when in fact patients can receive it much earlier. In customer satisfaction surveys, many families said they wish they had known about hospice sooner.
- Receiving hospice care may help you avoid frequent trips to the hospital.
Who Is Eligible
Patients must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for hospice. Heartland will work with you and your physician to determine eligibility. Medicare's guidelines include:
- Documented life-limiting prognosis by a certified physician(s)
- The patient elects to receive comfort (palliative) care
Potential Eligibility Indicators
- Unplanned weight loss
- Excessive sleeping throughout the day
- Multiple hospital visits/stays in the past six months
- Excessive swelling of the legs and ankles, even when feet are propped up
- Difficulty breathing, even at rest or with increased oxygen levels
- Weakness during activities of daily living
- Frequent changes in medications
- Pain that is poorly controlled
- Loss of interest in activities
- Not “bouncing back” after an illness
- Not responding to current treatments or therapy
- Loss of appetite
- Wounds that aren't healing
- Loss of speech
- Trouble sleeping due to pain, shortness of breath or other symptoms
Don't Wait To Consider Hospice
Hospice is a special way of caring for people with terminal illness. Knowing when to schedule a hospice evaluation can be difficult. Take a look at some signs that may indicate potential eligibility for hospice care.
The truth is: We enrich life in surprising ways. Explore the myths below to learn more about the hospice care provided by Heartland.
I'm giving up.
Myth: Hospice means I am giving up. Giving up hope. Giving up trying. Giving up praying for a cure.
Truth: In order to receive hospice, the patient must be eligible and have an understanding that hospice focuses on comfort care (palliative), not cure. But patients and families do not have to be "ready to die" before getting the care they need and deserve. Hospice helps patients and families deal with what is happening to them on their own terms and in their own time frame. It is important to get hospice early so that the benefit can help patients prepare and get ready for what is happening; it is not required that patients be ready prior to receiving care.
I can't afford hospice.
Myth: I can't afford hospice.
Truth: The Medicare and Medicaid Hospice Benefits cover services at 100%, so there is no cost to the patient. If patients have private insurance or managed care, Heartland assists in checking their benefit coverage to make sure patients and families understand any potential out-of-pocket costs.
Hospice is only for patients with cancer.
Myth: Hospice is only for patients with cancer.
Truth: More than 60% of hospice patients nationwide have diagnoses other than cancer. Many patients have other diagnoses or advanced stages of chronic diseases like pulmonary disease, Alzheimer's disease, renal disease, HIV/AIDS and cardiovascular or neuromuscular diseases.
Hospice is a place.
Myth: I always thought that hospice was a place—that building that I passed on the way home from work.
Truth: Hospice is a philosophy of care, not a place. Hospice care can be provided in any place the patient calls home, whether that is a personal home, a skilled nursing center, assisted living facility or anywhere else.
Hospice can't be provided in assisted living.
Myth: Hospice care can't help take care of my dad in his assisted living apartment.
Truth: Hospice provides care wherever a patient calls home, including, but not limited to assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, independent living facilities and personal homes.
I can no longer go the hospital if needed.
Myth: If I am under the care of hospice, I can no longer go to the hospital if I need to. What if my pain gets out of control?
Truth: While hospice strives to manage pain and other uncomfortable symptoms outside of the hospital setting, a hospice patient always has the choice of whether or not to go to the hospital. The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers short-term general inpatient care in the hospital when a patient's symptoms can no longer be managed in another care setting.
I need a signed DNR.
Myth: The doctor said I had to sign a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order for my wife in order for her to get hospice.
Truth: A patient can receive hospice without having signed a DNR. The hospice regulation actually says that hospices cannot discriminate against patients because of any advance directive choices.
I still receive regular treatment for my disease.
Myth: I can't consider hospice care early enough because I'm still getting treatments for my disease on a regular basis.
Truth: The Medicare Hospice Benefit may cover chemotherapy, radiation, blood transfusions or other treatments if those treatments are providing comfort for patients eligible to receive the benefit (life expectancy of six months or less if the illness runs its normal course).
Hospice is not palliative care.
Myth: Hospice is not palliative care.
Truth: All hospice services are palliative in nature, however, not all palliative care is delivered under the Medicare hospice benefit. Hospice focuses on physical, spiritual and emotional support to the patient and family including family counseling, help with end-of-life decisions and bereavement services.
Hospice requires caregivers prior to admission.
Myth: I have to be available as the designated caregiver 24 hours a day in order for my loved one to get hospice.
Truth: While some hospices require caregivers prior to the patient being admitted, Heartland does not. We help coordinate community resources to keep the patient at home as long as possible, and then help the patient find an alternative location to receive care when care at home is no longer possible.
I have to wait for a doctor's order.
Myth: I have to wait for a doctor's order before I can learn more about hospice.
Truth: Patients can choose for us to meet with them and discuss the benefit of hospice at any time. We cannot provide hands-on care to a patient without a physician's order. We work with each patient's physician to identify each patient's individual needs.
Hospice is 100 percent covered for eligible patients under Medicare, most state Medicaid plans and many private insurance plans. We will assist you in checking your benefit coverage and make sure you understand any potential out-of-pocket costs. Heartland Hospice provides care to those who qualify for hospice services regardless of the ability to pay or insurance coverage.