Nobody wants to think about being diagnosed with a terminal illness. However, terminal illnesses are a reality for many Americans. One of the most common types of terminal illnesses is cancer. According to the latest statistics, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the country, second only to heart disease. Nearly 600,000 people die from cancer each year. For cancer patients, or anyone else not expected to live past the next six months due to a terminal illness, hospice services are available to help patients during this difficult time.
To better understand hospice services, here are the answers to three frequently asked questions.
1. Are There Different Kinds of Hospice Services?
The goal of hospice services is to ensure that those who have a terminal illness maintain as high of quality of life as possible. Although the patient will not receive treatment for their condition, they will be given medications to keep them comfortable for as long as possible. Along with addressing the patient's physical needs, hospice services also addresses their emotional, mental, and social needs.
Not every patient needs the same kind of service. This is why there are four different kinds of hospice services, which include:
- In-Home Hospice: These services are offered wherever the patient calls home and include pain management, assistance with daily tasks, and counseling.
- Continuous Care: These services usually include around-the-clock nursing for patients whose symptoms are difficult to manage.
- Inpatient Care: These services are for patients whose symptoms can't be managed at home, but still allow their loved ones to visit them in the hospital.
- Respite Care: These short-term inpatient services are offered so that those caring for the patient at home can receive much-needed time to rest.
The patient, their caregivers, and the medical team can help determine which type of hospice service will be best.
2. Who Provides Hospice Services?
The type of hospice service the patient requires will determine who exactly provides the services. In many cases, there is a group of people who make up a patient's hospice care team. Some of these people include the patient's primary care physician, a medical director, nurses, home health aides, and social workers.
Other people involved in the patient's hospice services typically include trained caregivers, counselors, pastors, and bereavement specialists. If the patient requires therapy as part of their hospice care, physical therapists, as well as occupational therapists and speech therapists are also involved.
3. Does Insurance Cover Hospice Services?
Patients must meet certain eligibility requirements in order for hospice services to be covered by insurance. In most cases, insurance covers home medical equipment, medications, routine home care, and bereavement support. It's possible for 100 percent of the costs associated with hospice services to be covered if the patient has Medicare Part A.
For more information about hospice services in your area, contact a local home health care group, such as Aria Hospice, to learn more.