As a long-term care facility patient, you may have come across phrases like “in hospice” or “in care.” What do these phrases mean? When did you first know that you were terminally sick? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, chances are you’re not one of the thousands of Americans who go in and out of hospitals each year seeking hospice. Each state has different laws regarding long-term care, however most require a 24-hour waiting period prior to the admission into hospice.
You may qualify for hospice even if: You’re eligible for Medicare Part A (Medicare Supplement) or Medicaid. Your physician certifies that you’re terminally ill with an incurable disease and likely have less than a year to live. Even if you have requested and been approved for Medicaid or Medicare, your Medicaid eligibility will be considered for hospice if you have not reached Medicaid eligibility for advance care planning. Your hospice provider will provide you with a Medicare denial letter stating that you fall under the definition of a needy person. This letter can be from your hospice provider or from Medicare.
You should also meet other criteria, including your age and the fact that you’re a resident of the U.S. To be eligible for hospice, you must meet the following requirements: You must be in reasonably good health, and you should be alert and able to cooperate in conversations with your hospice provider. You should be reasonably comfortable with the concept of end-of-life care and your communication skills should be above average. Your hospice provider will help you prepare for your transition from life support to hospice. You will be counseled by your hospice team about your personal goals and how best to achieve them.
Once you’ve met the aforementioned criteria, you’ll qualify for hospice care. Your hospice team will determine whether you qualify based on your medical condition and medical history. The hospice team will also consider your ability to care for yourself and your preferences in healthcare. If you don’t qualify, the hospice staff can offer referrals to other qualified candidates.
After you’ve made the decision to become a hospice patient, it’s important to understand and comply with your care plan. According to the hospice system, you will be assigned to a primary caregiver who is a patient in good health and has had previous experience caring for the same type of person. In general, the primary caregiver is the person who holds the most influence over the patient. He or she is the one responsible for making the decisions about what care the patient requires and makes the decisions about the overall organization of the care team. The senior resident may have the final say in decisions about his own healthcare, but he or she may also be consulted when it comes to decisions about the rest of the care team and the quality of the patient’s care.
After you meet the eligibility requirements for hospice services, you will need to meet a series of tests and interviews to determine whether or not you’re a suitable candidate for hospice. These tests will assess your physical and mental condition, the medical condition of your family, any medications you’re currently taking and the severity of your condition. You’ll also be required to fill out paperwork regarding your desire to become a hospice patient and to agree on a written agreement between the hospice and your doctor.
Once you’ve passed the eligibility tests, you’ll need to undergo a specific series of testing and interviews before your hospice provider agrees to provide you with hospice care. You will have to agree on a daily regimen of care, which your doctors will devise for you and then take over once you’re admitted into the hospice. Your hospice provider will also assign a therapist who will work with you on the recovery process after you leave the hospital. You will still need to be under the care of a primary care physician when you’re receiving hospice care; however, your therapist should be able to make you comfortable and help you cope with your new circumstances. You will have a support group, or you can enroll in a peer support network, if you prefer.
If you’re interested in receiving hospice for you or a loved one, it’s important to talk with both your primary care physician and your therapist. They can explain all of the considerations involved in deciding who is eligible for hospice care and can answer any questions you might have. This is a significant decision, and you should feel completely comfortable with who is going to care for you when you are gone.