National Hospice & Palliative Care Month

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Most people have heard of hospice care and have a general idea of what services hospice provides. What they don’t know or what may become confusing is that hospice provides “palliative care,” and that palliative care is both a method of administering “comfort” care and increasingly, an administered system of palliative care offered most prevalently by hospices and hospitals. As an adjunct or supplement to some of the more “traditional” care options, both hospice and palliative care protocols call for patients to receive a combined approach where medications, day-to-day care, equipment, bereavement counseling, and symptom treatment are administered through a single program. Where palliative care programs and hospice care programs differ greatly is in the care location, timing, payment, and eligibility for services. Do you know your options when it comes to Hospice and Community Based Palliative Care? The information in this blog will give you a brief summary of what options are available.

Place:

Hospice
Hospice programs far outnumber palliative care programs. Generally, once enrolled through a referral, a patient’s hospice care program, which is overseen by a team of hospice professionals, is administered in the home. Hospice often relies upon the family caregiver, as well as a visiting hospice interdisciplinary team. While hospice can provide round-the-clock care in a nursing home, a specially equipped hospice facility, or, on occasion, in a hospital, this is not the norm.

Community Based Palliative Care
Palliative care has been enjoying significant growth in the US during the past several years, primarily within hospital settings. This approach has significant value and there is now ample evidence showing positive outcomes for patients receiving hospital-based palliative care. Waiting for a hospitalization to trigger discussions of goals of care, however, may lead to unnecessary suffering. Intervening earlier in the continuum of care for patients with chronic and advanced illnesses can significantly reduce the burden of illness, improve quality of life and prognosis as well as reduce overall healthcare expenditures, while at the same time, aligning expense with meaningful care. Thus community-based models of palliative care are emerging. Generally, once enrolled through a referral, a patient’s community based palliative care program, which is overseen by a team of hospice professionals, is administered in the home. Hospice programs are well versed in providing home-based services to patients with far advanced illness and their families in an interdisciplinary, holistic manner that attends to multiple facets of need; physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Involving the interdisciplinary team earlier in the care of patients with advanced illness presents unique challenges and requires new competencies and systems of care delivery. Community based palliative care programs ensure patients and their families have access to care options that best meet their individual needs while in their home, an assisted living or even a nursing home.

Timing:

Hospice
You must be considered to be terminally ill or have a prognosis of six months or less to be eligible for most hospice programs or to receive hospice benefits from your insurance.

Community Based Palliative Care
There is no time restrictions to receive community based palliative care. The patient must have a life limiting disease to be eligible for Community based palliative care. Community based palliative care can be received by patients at any time, at any stage of illness whether it be terminal or not.

Payment:

Hospice
Before considering hospice, it is important to check on policy limits for payment. While hospice can be considered an all-inclusive treatment in terms of payment (hospice programs cover almost all expenses) insurance coverage for hospice can vary. Some hospice programs offer subsidized care for the economically disadvantaged, or for patients not covered under their own insurance. Many hospice programs are covered under Medicare, Medicaid and most private Insurances.

Community Based Palliative Care
Since this service will generally be administered through a hospice medical provider; it is likely that it is covered by your regular medical insurance. It is important to note, however, that each item will be billed separately, just as they are with regular doctor visits. If you receive outpatient palliative care, prescriptions will be billed separately and are only covered as provided by your regular insurance. For more details, check with your insurance company, doctor, or hospice administration.

Treatment:

Hospice
Most programs concentrate on comfort rather than aggressive disease abatement. By electing to forego extensive life-prolonging treatment, hospice patients can concentrate on getting the most out of the time they have left, without some of the negative side-effects that life prolonging treatments can have. Most hospice patients can achieve a level of comfort that allows them to concentrate on the emotional and practical issues of dying.

Community Based Palliative Care

Since there are no time limits on when you can receive community based palliative care, it acts to fill the gap for patients who want and need comfort at any stage of a life limiting disease, whether terminal or chronic. In a community based palliative care program, there is no expectation that life-prolonging therapies will be avoided.

If you would like more information about Front Range Hospice and Palliative Care please call 303-957-3101 or 970-776-8080 or email us at info@frhospice.com

#hpm #hospicemonth #hospiceawareness

 

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About Front Range Hospice- Legendary Care

Front Range Hospice is a center for excellence in providing end-of-life care and we continue to strive to keep our company achieving distinction. Visit us at www.frhospice.com.
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