Tips to find high-quality, no-cost Hospice Services in 2022 for yourself or a loved one.
Everybody deserves healthcare access, even when faced with an incurable and terminal disease. Hospice is specialized care that aims to reduce the pain and symptoms of patients who have ceased all treatments for their illness out of futility. It also attempts to go beyond this physical aspect by uplifting the mind and spirit, which is believed to bring peace and dignity to the individual. Interestingly, many would only seek hospice during the last 2 to 3 weeks of the patient’s life. Yet there is a lot to gain when they can begin their hospice care six months earlier. Perhaps they are not aware that they can get no-cost hospice services. What are they anyway, and how do you get them? Let’s find out.
Different No-Cost Hospice Services
There are several no-cost hospice services and options that are available. These include:
- Doctor and nursing care. Family members may have decided that the patient will no longer take treatments for their illness, but a hospice doctor will still monitor their condition. Also, a hospice nurse will be hands-on in providing round-the-clock care for the patient, whether they are located in a facility or their private home. Although they focus on managing the patient’s pain, hospice nurses are flexible enough to provide other services in the form of emotional support and mediating with family members of the patient, to name a few.
- Medical equipment and supplies. Patients who opt to get their end-of-life care at home will require certain items from the hospital. These include a hospital bed, wheelchair, IV system, etc. Renting such equipment is included in no-cost hospice services, as well as provision for bandages, catheters, and other supplies if necessary. You can return the medical equipment after the patient’s passing.
- Pain prescriptions. A terminally ill individual will likely experience unimaginable pain brought about by their condition. Such can be addressed by prescribing medications like “acetaminophen,” “bisacodyl,” etc. The good thing is that the patient does not need to pay for these drugs.
- Temporary inpatient care. Depending on the patient’s condition, the hospice provider may require them to receive their hospice care in a hospital or facility for a short term. The patient’s healthcare program usually absorbs the related costs.
- Social work services. Social workers are also part of the hospice team. They are licensed professionals who explain the hospice services and other available resources to patients and their families. For instance, they can advise you on how to apply for financial assistance or additional therapy that can help improve the patient’s symptoms.
- Dietary services. While terminally ill patients are often told to eat what they want, they cannot consume food the way healthy individuals do. They consume small quantities or sometimes refrain from eating altogether, contributing to more pain and discomfort. Hospice can assist in encouraging the patient to increase their food intake by recommending foods that are easy to chew yet still have nutritional value.
Goals of End-of-Life Care
There are several choices of care for end-of-life care, including:
- Physical therapy. Prolonged hospital stays and bedridden conditions can wreak havoc on the patient’s physical functioning. Physical therapy enhances the quality of life by prescribing appropriate exercises and hands-on care that allow the individual to move more freely and comfortably.
- Respite care. Patients with life-limiting illnesses would have a dedicated caregiver they are fully dependent on. However, this task can take a toll on the caregiver as well. Respite care allows hospice staff to temporarily take over to allow the caregiver to recuperate for several days before they resume their duties.
- Home aid services. No-cost hospice services also include getting quick help for some household chores. When the patient is living alone in their residence, hospice can deploy their staff to render housekeeping services such as cleaning the room, taking dirty clothes to the laundromat, and others.
- Bereavement support. Pain is felt not only by the patient but also by their loved ones, especially after their passing. While the majority will be able to move on after a considerable time, some may develop clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues related to the loss. Hospice counselors counsel surviving family members so they can return to their normal lives sooner.
No-Cost Hospice Services
There are a few ways to access no-cost hospice services, including:
- Medicare. In the early 80s, Medicare began to include a hospice benefit program for a more peaceful and dignified end of life without adding more financial burden to the patient. To qualify for <a href=”https://newvisionhospice.com/2019/11/01/who-pays-for-hospice/”> no-cost hospice services</a>, the individual should have Medicare Part A coverage in their health insurance, including hospice care. You will need to submit a doctor’s certification of your prognosis and a signed document that indicates you are foregoing curative modalities and choosing hospice instead.
- Medicaid. Medicaid is low-cost health insurance funded by the federal and state governments and catered to lower-income adults, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, children, and the elderly. While each state’s requirements may vary, most will require a doctor’s certification, election statement of hospice care, and provider to avail of no-cost hospice services.
- Private insurance. You can get free hospice based on a private health insurance plan the patient may have acquired through their employer or as a continuing benefit of their retirement program. While most insurance companies would pattern their hospice services after Medicare’s program, you can verify the available services by communicating with the insurance company.
- Veteran’s benefits. Veterans Affairs (VA) covers hospice care for those that served in the military and met the eligibility hospice requirements, which are the same as Medicare.
- Charity care. Hospice is no longer a privilege but a right such that even if the patient has no health insurance plan and cannot pay for the service, they are entitled to it. You will still be required to submit requirements to qualify. The hospice agency may send you the statements of services provided but will not pressure you into payment with the help of grants, donations, and other community sources.
Live Fully to the End
Seeing a loved one go through the most difficult time is painful and disheartening. But the sooner you can arrange the patient’s hospice care, the better. Because under the circumstances, it is the only way you can enrich the quality of time you spend with them. With the help of no-cost hospice services, you are making these final moments more meaningful and dignified than they thought possible.