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Answers to 5 most Frequently Asked Hospice Questions

by Silverado

While most people have heard of hospice, a surprising number don’t have a complete understanding of the actual details of the method and purpose of it. November has been declared National Hospice and Palliative Care Month by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), a time to help build awareness of comfort-based care among those it may benefit.

Here are just a few common hospice questions and answers to them:

What is the purpose of hospice?
Hospice is a change of focus from curative treatments to a different set of goals – comfort and quality of life. Comfort care includes physical therapy, spiritual & emotional support, companionship and even the granting of life-long wishes. Hospice gives the patient and their family the opportunity to enjoy life and celebrate the bonds and memories they share.

How does hospice care start?
When a physician makes a prognosis that a patient has six months or less to live they may place an order for hospice care. At this point, a hospice provider can be contacted to start the hospice admission process (please note that “admission” refers to the start of service and does not necessarily reflect the patient being physically admitted to a facility or new location).

Will hospice make my loved one die sooner?
The goal of hospice is to provide comfort as the natural process of dying takes its course. In no way is there any effort or intention to hasten a patient’s death while on hospice, just to provide comfort while the patient’s journey comes to an end.

Does insurance cover hospice costs?
Hospice is funded by Medicare, Medicaid and also by most individual insurers. Hospice coverage is available to anyone that has a six-month or less terminal prognosis. The costs associated with most medications and therapies that relieve pain and provide comfort are covered as a part of hospice. Hospice services can actually remove some financial burden families or responsible parties, who may otherwise need to pay out-of-pocket for medications or equipment like beds or wheelchairs.

Does a patient have to go to a hospice facility in order to receive care?
Hospice services can be provided at any number of locations, including most retirement and assisted living facilities. Because comfort and tranquility are the goals, great effort is taken to keep patients in place and prevent stresses involved with hospital readmissions or relocations to a dedicated hospice facility. Silverado does not operate hospice facilities. Our hospice teams work on-site at patients’ residences, be they a private home, assisted living or other facility.

For more answers to common hospice questions, please visit Silverado.com/hospiceFAQs

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