Hospice care includes:
To be admitted to hospice care, the patient must be certified by two physicians as having a terminal illness and a life expectancy of six months or less. In electing hospice care, the patient is choosing to seek comfort rather than cure.
However, hospice care doesn’t necessarily end after six months. Some patients live well beyond their original six-month prognosis, and hospice care may continue as long as the physician continues to certify the patient and the patient wishes to continue comfort and not curative treatment.
Hospices now care for about 40% of Americans who die from cancer and a growing number of patients with other chronic, life-threatening illnesses, such as end-stage heart or lung disease. According to actual patient counts supplied by National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) member hospices, and conservative estimates for other hospice programs, NHPCO estimates that hospices provided care to 1.56 million people in 2009. NHPCO estimates than more than 41.6% percent of all Americans who died in 2009 were in hospice care.
Hospice care is reimbursed on a per diem basis. The Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for hospice care is a set rate per day. There are four hospice rates each linked to one of the four levels of hospice care: routine home care, general inpatient care, respite care, and continuous care. 95% of Medicare hospice patients are billed as routine home care.
Hospice can evaluate a patient to determine eligibility after receiving an order from a physician. Once eligibility is determined goals of care will be discussed and the interdisciplinary team will work with the patient and family to put a care plan in place.
A patient can stop hospice at any time – it only requires a signature. Notify the hospice to begin the revocation process.
Patients may also be discharged from hospice for several reasons including a stable condition.
Click here to see a list of hospice providers
Palliative care is an option for anyone with a serious illness – at any age and at any stage of disease. It is not dependent upon a patient’s prognosis. Palliative care can accompany curative treatment.
Hospice is a piece of palliative care offered to the terminally ill – those who only have months to live. People who receive hospice care have decided to stop all curative treatments for their terminal illness.
Does insurance cover palliative care?
Most insurance plans cover all or part of the palliative care treatment a patient receives, just as with other hospital and medical services. This is also true of Medicare and Medicaid. Palliative care teams can help patients determine payment options.
Yes. Palliative care focuses on symptom management. Symptoms may come from a serious illness, curative treatments.
A palliative team typically includes palliative care doctors, nurses and social workers. Other specialists including massage therapists, pharmacists and nutritionists might also be part of the team.