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Atlanta Caregiver & Home Care Articles

What is Hospice Care?

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jun 17, 2020 12:47:52 PM

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Making the decision to enlist Hospice Care for a loved one can be very emotional and overwhelming.  It signifies the end of treatment for a terminal condition and focuses on the quality of life for those with an advanced incurable disease.  Some people think using hospice means that they are giving up, but Hospice simply focuses on comfort, compassion, and gaining control of physical pain during the last stage of life.

Here are key points associated with Hospice Services:

  • Hospice is specialized healthcare whose focus is on pain management and comfort. Hospice care can be selected when it is determined that life expectancy for any terminal condition is 6 months or less.  There will no longer be treatment administered to "cure" the terminal health condition.  Please note, someone on hospice care can and many do, live beyond the six month time frame and they are still eligible to receive the services after being re-certified by the physician.
  • A person that is placed on Hospice can change their mind and leave Hospice and restart standard medical care at any time.  In some instances the Hospice care benefits the person receiving the care so much that they are able to extend their lives and leave the program.
  • Hospice can take place in a medicare approved hospice facility or in thee majority of cases, at home, assisted living or nursing facility.  If an in-facility care option is selected, the family should understand that charges for normal "room & board" will be the responsibility of the family.  Investigate out of pocket costs before making selection between in-home vs. in-facility. 
  • to qualify for Hospice Care at home, there must be a willing, able and available caregiver in the home.  Hospice provides some personal care assistance such as bathing and dressing, however, it does NOT provide full time caregivers.  Many families select professional caregivers from Home Care agencies.
  • The Hospice Care team will typically consist of a physician, nurse, social worker, counselor, physical/occupational/speech therapists, nursing assistants, and volunteers.  The regular physician can also be included as part of the team.
  • Under Hospice you will receive a host of services including: physician and nursing, medical equipment (hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, beside commode, lift, etc), drugs for symptom control and pain, homemaker services, therapy, social worker, dietary counseling, grief counseling, massage therapy, short term inpatient care if needed for pain and symptom management and short term respite care.
  • Once Hospice Care has been selected, the following costs will NO LONGER be covered under Medicare:  treatments intended to cure the terminal illness, drugs intended to cure the illness, care from any provider that wasn't established by the hospice team, room and board, care in an emergency room or ambulance, inpatient facility unless it has been set up by your hospice team.

Seeking hospice and palliative care isn't about giving up hope.  It's really about finding the appropriate level of care in one's final weeks or months.  For many, the comfort of home and spending time with loved ones is desired over the cold, sterile setting of a hospital room.  If you have made the decision to transition to hospice care and need information regarding In-Home care services, please contact Easy Living Services at 770-442-8664. We are here to help!

Atlanta Caregivers

Topics: In Home Care, Atlanta Home Care, Hospice, Caregiver Support

Does Hospice Mean the End?

Posted by Debby Franklin on Mar 29, 2017 2:13:57 PM

Caregiver reading to a client Terry dollarphoto.jpgA person placed under hospice care may very well live beyond the 6 month time frame. Sometimes, hospice care benefits the patient so much that they are able to extend their lives and leave the hospice program.  Hospice care is a specialized service designed to provide support to the person that is ill and their loved ones during an advance illness.  Hospice focuses on comfort and quality of life rather than a cure.  The goal is to enable an alert, pain free life.  

Many people hear the word Hospice and immediately reject the idea of learning more about the benefits offered through this program.  Hopefully, this brief outline will assist in summarizing key points associated with hospice services.....

  • Hospice is appropriate when a person has a non reversal terminal illness with a life-expectancy of six month or less.  However it can also be considered when individuals have a life threatening illness or when a cure is no longer possible and treatment has slowed or stopped.  Receiving hospice does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent.  The earlier an individual receives care, the more opportunity there is to stabilize the medical condition and address other needs.
  • The decision is not "set in stone".  A person placed on hospice is free to change their mind, leave hospice and restart standard medical care at any time.  The Medicare benefit, and most private insurance, pays for hospice as long as the necessary criteria has been achieved.  People can come on and off hospice and re-enroll as needed.  Hospice can be restarted with physician's certification at a future time.
  • In order to qualify for hospice care at home, there must be a willing, able and available caregiver in the home.  Hospice provides some care assistance such as bathing and dressing, however, it does NOT provide full time caregivers.  Many families select professional caregivers from Home Care agencies to provide "around the clock" coverage for their loved ones.
  • Coverage for hospice is available through Medicare in 44 states and the District of Columbia under Medicaid, however most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations include hospice as a benefit.  Through community contributions, memorial donations, and foundation gifts, many hospices are able to provide patients who lack sufficient payment with free services or charges in accordance with the ability to pay.
  • Medicare Part A beneficiaries may elect to receive hospice care for 2 90day periods, followed by an unlimited number of 60 day periods.  A physician must re certify at the start of each new period.
  • If dissatisfied, you can leave one hospice program and enter a new one once each benefit period.  All licensed hospice programs must provide certain services, but the range of support and programs may differ.  In addition, programs and operating styles may vary from state to state depending on laws and regulations and business model.
  • Hospice can take place in a Medicare approved hospice facility or in the majority of cases, at home (including assisted living or nursing facilities).  If an in-facility option is selected, the family needs to understand that charges for normal "room & board" will be the responsibility of the individual.  Investigate out of pocket expense before making the selection between staying at home vs. going to a center.
  • When hospice is received at home, a family member will remain as the primary caregiver and can be assisted by professional caregivers sent by Home Care agencies.
  • The hospice team will typically consist of a physician, nurse, social worker, counselor, physical/occupational/speech therapists, nursing assistants, and volunteers.  
  • Hospice includes a number of paid for services such as; physician and nursing assistance, medical equipment (hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, bedside commode, lift, etc), medications for symptom control and pain (a small copay may apply), dietary counseling, grief counseling, massage therapy, short term in-patient care if needed for pain and symptom management and short term respite care.
  • The respite benefit is an important one for family members.  It provides for 5 days care for the patient in a Medicare approved facility to allow the family caregiver to rest and "recharge".
  • Once hospice has been selected, the following costs will NO LONGER be covered under Medicare: treatments intended to cure the terminal illness, drugs intended to cure the illness, care from any provider that wasn't established by the hospice team and care in an emergency room/ambulance/inpatient facility unless arranged by the hospice team. 
  • According to the Medicare program, services may be provided to terminally ill beneficiaries with a life expectancy of six months or less.  If the patient lives beyond the initial six months, they can continue receiving hospice care as long as the attending physician re certifies that the patient is terminally ill.  Most paid assistance will continue to cover services as long as the patient meet the hospice criteria and is re certified.

Seeking hospice and palliative care isn't about giving up hope.  Its really about finding the appropriate level of care in one's final weeks or months.  For most the comfort of home and spending time with loved ones is desired over the cold, sterile setting of a hospital room.  

If you have made the decision to transition to hospice care and need information regarding supplemental In-Home Care assistance, we can help.  Easy Living Services, has supported Atlanta families in their efforts to keep loved ones fulfilled and safe at home since 1994.  Call us for a complimentary consultation to learn more about the benefits of Home Care Assistance, 770-442-8664.

Atlanta Caregivers

Topics: Hospice

Hospice And Home Care

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jul 13, 2012 3:20:00 PM

Hospice, Home Care, Chronic DiseaseMany callers that we speak with are unaware of how Hospice and Home Care work hand in hand together providing the best comforting care solutions.  Hospice is a concept that focuses on comfort rather than a cure.  It's a model of care built around managing physical symptoms, such as pain, anxiety, and shortness of breath, as well as supporting the patient and their loved ones emotionally, socially and spiritually. 

Hospice care is typically provided in the patient's home but also may be given in inpatient hospice facilities.  Hospice care does not provide 24 hour around the clock nursing care which is where Home Care service steps in, utilizing a caregiver to assist with bathing, grooming, toilet and nutritional needs.  Staying at home is what most dying patients prefer and Hospice and Home Care offers the support to help that become a reality.

The mission of hospice is to affirm life and view death as a natural process.  Hospice is not designed to hasten death or "help" someone die, but rather to help patients live the remainder of their lives as fully as possible.  At Easy Living our mission is to keep people safe and comfortable, assisting with personal care and homemaker duties in the familiar and comfortable surroundings of home.

 

Hospice utilizes a team of trained professionals who work together to deliver hospice services that can include:

  • Nursing Service - A patient is assigned a case manager nurse who typically visits 1-3 days per week.  Patients have access to 24-hour on-call nurses.
  • Social Services - Patients are assigned a social worker to assist with emotional and social needs.
  • Counseling - This can include pastoral or spiritual support, bereavement counseling along with dietary services.
  • Physician - Patients are often cared for by their regular physician in cooperation with a hospice medical director.
  • Home Health Aide - A Home Health Aide is assigned to help patients with their bathing needs and typically the visits are 2-3 times per week.
  • Medication - Typically Hospice covers all medications that are related to the hospice diagnosis and those that are intended to alleviate symptoms.
  • Equipment - Equipment that is necessary for providing safe, comfortable care in the patents home environment is supplied by hospice.
A patient is ready for hospice when they have decided to pursue treatments meant only to promote comfort, not cure the illness.  Hospice care is appropriate when a patient has a terminal illness with a life-expectancy of six months or less.  However Hospice can also be considered when individuals have a life threatening illness or when a cure is no longer possible and treatment has slowed or stopped.  Hospice services are a Medicare Part A Benefit although Medicaid and some private insurance companies also cover benefits.
 
Live-in Home Care assistance is a good option for persons undergoing Hospice care and is a more affordable Home Care solution.  Having a caregiver available in the home around the clock provides a level of protection that many patients require.  Our complimentary in-home assessment will assist you in determining the type of Home Care service that will best suit your needs.  Contact us anytime at 770-442-8664.

In Home Care For Seniors

Topics: Home Care, homecare, Hospice, chronic disease, terminal illness

Hospice Benefits Made Simple

Posted by Jill Troman on Nov 18, 2011 12:35:00 PM

home careChoosing to place your loved one under the care of a hospice team is an extremely emotional decision.   It signifies the end of active treatment for the terminal condition and a movement into uncertain territory, for client and family.  In choosing hospice care for my sister who had exhausted treatment options for her cancer, I wrestled with the idea that I was giving up hope and giving up on her.  Initially, the anguish associated with this decision was overwhelming.  My sister's medical team did little to educate our family on the benefits of hospice; which heightened feelings of hopelessness, fear and guilt.   Was I doing the right thing for my sister?  What if by some miracle her condition improved; could she leave hospice and restart treatment? Would pain medications simply hasten death?  Fortunately, I was able to connect with a knowlegable social worker who answered my questions, offered reassurance, and helped me gain "peace" with the decision.  In the end, my sister was extremely well cared for by a team of compassionate professionals who gained control of her physical pain, provided "TLC", education and so much more. 

Many patients and families are not familiar with the goals, benefits and limitations of hospice care.  Hopefully, this brief outline will assist in summarizing key points associated with hospice services...

  • Hospice care is a specialized healthcare program designed to meet the needs of terminally ill patients and their loved ones.  Its focus is on pain management and comfort.  Patients can select hospice care when his/her physician determines that life expectancy for ANY terminal condition is 6 months or less.  Under Hospice care, the patient will no longer receive treatment designed to "cure" the terminal health condition.  A patient placed under hospice care may very well live beyond the 6 month timeframe and is still eligible to receive hospice services, if recertified by their physician.
  • The decision is not "set in stone".  A patient that is placed on hospice care is free to change his mind, leave hospice care and restart standard medical care at any time. Sometimes, hospice care benefits the patient so much that they are able to extend their lives and leave the hospice program.
  • Also, hospice services can be restarted with physician's certification at a future time. In fact, In order to qualify for hospice care at home, there must be a willing, able and available caregiver in the home.  Hospice provides some personal care assistance such as bathing and dressing.  However, it does NOT provide full time caregivers.  Many families select professional caregivers from Home Care agencies to provide "round the clock" coverage for their loved ones. 
  • Medicare Part A beneficiaries may elect to receive hospice care for two, 90 day periods, followed by an unlimited number of 60 day periods.  The patients physician must recertify at the start of each new period.
  • If dissatisfied, patients can leave one hospice program and enter a new one once each benefit period. 
  • Hospice care can take place in a medicare approved hospice facility or in the majority of cases, at home (including patients' assisted living or nursing facility). If an in-facility care option is selected, the family should understand that charges for normal "room & board" will be the responsibility of the patient.  Investigate out of pocket costs before making selection between in-home vs. in-facility services.
  • When hospice care is received at home, family members remain as primary caregivers. 
  • The care team will typically consist of a physician, nurse, social worker, counselor, physical/occupational/speech therapists, nursing assistants, and volunteers. The patients regular physician can also be included as part of the team.
  • The client and family will receive a whole host of services including: physician and nursing services, medical equipment (hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, bedside commode, lift, etc), drugs for symptom control and pain (small copay may apply), homemaker services, physical/occupational therapy, social worker services, dietary couseling, grief counseling, massage therapy, short term inpatient care if needed for pain and symptom management and short term respite care.
  • The respite care benefit is an important one for family members.  It provides for short term (5 days) care for the patient in a medicare approved facility to allow family caregivers to rest and "recharge".
  • Once hospice care has been selected, the following costs will NO LONGER be covered under Medicare:  treatments intended to cure the terminal illness, drugs intended to cure the illness, care from any provider that wasn't established by the hospice team, "room & board", care in an emergency room/ ambulance/ inpatient facility unless it was arranged by your hospice team. 

Need more information?  Click Here to Review the CMS/Medicare Booklet on Hospice Services

Seeking hospice and palliative care isn't about giving up hope.  Its really about finding the appropriate level of care in one's final weeks or months.  For many, the comfort of home and spending time with loved ones is desired over the cold, sterile setting of a hospital room.  If you have made the decision to transition to hospice care and need information regarding supplemental In-Home care services, please contact Easy Living Services at 770-442-8664.

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Topics: atlanta, Home Care, homecare, cancer, Hospice