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Planning for Hospice Care: Everything You Need to Know

Hospice care planning: everything you need to know

Posted on August 16, 2023 by Larry Johnson

Hospice Care Planning - Preparing for the Unimaginable

You or your loved ones have probably never considered it. It’s a day that you never thought would come. A senior loved one suddenly is in need of hospice care.

Or, even more unimaginable, you may be in need of hospice care yourself.

To you, hospice care is likely considered “the end before the end”. Both hospice and palliative care have a very specific reputation as being forms of care that you receive before you pass on. Care designed to make you comfortable in a time when not much else can be done.

While it’s true that hospice and palliative care are both forms of end-of-life care, they do not always necessarily mean that the lives of your loved ones are ending. Choosing hospice care means that your loved ones, or you, have chosen to stop treatment for illnesses considered terminal. It’s designed to maintain comfort and enhance quality of life at a time when both are in short supply.

If your loved ones are enrolled in a Medicare plan, it’s now easier than ever to find hospice care that’s accredited by Medicare. The United States Department of Health and Human Services has developed a series of initiatives that make finding quality hospice care for your loved ones or yourself less of a hassle.

Planning for hospice care, however, can still be kind of tough. When you find yourself in the situation to seek it out, how do you make hospice care planning for your loved ones easier? How do you make hospice care planning easier for yourself?

Hospice care planning will never actually be a simple task. However, there are steps you can take to make sure that it’s less of an emotional and mental burden. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know in regards to hospice care planning.

Why is hospice care planning important?

What is Hospice Care?

In short, hospice care, like palliative care, is care given to individuals who suffer from incurable terminal illnesses. It’s designed to make you more comfortable, and all attempts to cure your illness are brought to a stop. A doctor may suggest hospice for your loved ones, or for you, if they believe that you or your loved ones only have six months or less to live.

Hospice is similar to palliative care in many ways. Both:

  • Are available for patients with serious illnesses
  • Aim to relieve symptoms as much as possible
  • Are covered by Medicare to a degree

However, they’re also very different. With palliative care, you can continue to receive treatment for your illness, and it’s available to you as long as your insurance will pay for it. Palliative care Medicare coverage is available, but it all depends on what type of plan that you or your loved ones have (benefit and treatment-wise).

As mentioned above, hospice care is only available for you or your loved ones if you’ve been given six months or less to live. Treatment to help cure your illness is no longer available to you or your loved ones if hospice is desired, and care is given for as long as life expectancy is viewed in months, not years.

Medicare coverage is also available for hospice. However, it will only cover charges for certain services.

Where Can I or My Loved Ones Receive Hospice Care?

Your loved ones are often given hospice care in the comfort of their own home. As hospice is designed for comfort, it makes sense to deliver the care where your loved ones are most comfortable. More often than not, that’s at home.

In more serious cases, you or your loved ones may be moved to a residential hospice facility. They may also receive hospice care if they currently live in a skilled nursing facility. Care is often moved to residential facilities if you or your loved ones need respite from the responsibilities of full-time caregiving.

How can Medicare plans factor into hospice care planning?

Medicare Coverage for Home Hospice Care

If you’re currently seeking hospice care for yourself or your loved ones, you may be wondering if Medicare provides coverage for home hospice care. The answer is, yes, Medicare coverage for home hospice care is available.

However, before you can receive home hospice or palliative care Medicare benefits, you must first meet certain requirements. To receive Medicare coverage for home hospice care or palliative care, you must:

  • Be enrolled in Medicare Part A
  • Have been certified with less than 6 months to live by a private physician or hospice doctor
  • Agree to hospice/palliative care only
  • Sign a document that you’re seeking hospice care over other covered treatment options

Knowing what Medicare will cover for hospice care is very important in the midst of hospice care planning for yourself or your loved ones. Paying for hospice care can be very expensive. Precise hospice care planning involves considering what the Medicare coverage that you or your loved ones have will pay for.

Some of the treatments and services included in Medicare coverage for home hospice treatment can be found below:

  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Care given by physicians and nurses
  • Prescription medications for pain management
  • Physical and occupational therapy

Medicare coverage helps you receive the care you need at no cost to you. However, you or your loved ones will need to meet your $5 copay for prescription medications related to symptom and pain management.

A Medicare Advantage Plan Can Come in Handy During Hospice Care Planning

While Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) offer great coverage for inpatient and home hospice care, it may not cover all of the things that you or your loved ones need. Certain Medicare Advantage plans near you may offer more comprehensive coverage for hospice care than Original Medicare.

Call us today or use our free plan finder to compare Medicare Advantage plans near you. You may find that a Medicare Advantage plan can become an invaluable tool during hospice care planning.

About the Author

Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson

Larry is a content writer with several years of experience in creating informative content for a variety of industries on topics that matter. He is a 2009 graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

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