Starting hospice care for a loved one is not easy. The pain of coming to terms with your loved one’s needs due to end-of-life-related circumstances is a struggle on its own.
Once hospice care has been ruled in as an option, however, a whole new struggle begins. What do I do? Where do I start? Who can help?
Let’s break down the steps of securing hospice care for a loved on into a few simplified steps.
Step 1: Talk to a Doctor About Hospice
The first thing you should do is call your primary care physician (PCP) or medical doctor (MD) and let them know you are considering hospice services. The most common reasons to start a hospice regimen include:
A medically documented decline in overall health
A life-limiting condition present with short life expectancy if left to run its normal course
Evaluation by a hospice nurse
Physician medical consent
All of these reasons are in relation to end-of-life issues. If you qualify for potential hospice care, your MD will write an order and fax it over to the home health provider of your choice.
Doctors are able to recommend many hospice service providers, so you can evaluate a provider before deciding. Having your doctor’s office ‘on-call’ to fax the order to a potential provider when needed allows you the time to look at different providers and their services.
Step 2: Find a Hospice Service Provider
Remember: you as the patient have the right to interview any hospice provider and choose the best fit for your needs. If you are not happy with a recommended care provider, please note that you have the right to transfer at any time.
It is important to make sure that your preferred hospice provider educates you on what to expect during your care. This is a key factor in deciding whether or not a hospice provider can cover your needs.
Be sure to have a pre-made list of questions ready before any interview with a potential provider. This will make it easier for you to assure that all your needs will be met. If there are optional services that may or may not be covered by a Medicare or insurance plan, be sure to get as much information as possible.
Approved hospice services are paid for 100% by Medicare A, Medicaid, and many private insurance providers. Ask about any costs you think may not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance. You don’t want to authorize a service or purchase an expensive piece of in-home equipment that will not be covered by insurance.
If you are having trouble finding a home health provider, use Google or Medicare.gov to find the right Home Health Provider for your needs!
Step 3: Get a Hospice Evaluation
Once you have picked your hospice care provider, they will evaluate and assess your needs based on the order from your MD. This evaluation will determine the needs and services that will be provided during the hospice care period.
If you don\’t have an MD or primary physician, call your home health provider or desired hospice provider to receive an evaluation. Medicare allows an NP to make a house call evaluation and write the order to initiate hospice services if necessary. If you have questions about your insurance coverage or provider needs.
Don\’t ever hesitate to call and ask questions! A Great hospice provider will tell you each step you need to take to get the services you need.
Step 4: Consult with Your Hospice Care Team
Every situation involving hospice care is extremely personal and very different. This is why consulting with your hospice interdisciplinary team is essential. Hospice interdisciplinary teams are put together to ease the needs of a patient and their loved ones.
These teams include experts that can help a patient or loved ones deal with sensitive issues that can be difficult to start on your own. Things like:
Therapy & counseling
Funeral & wake preparations
Care recommendations (in-home care or facility care?)
Will & estate guidance (who you should talk to and what information to get)*
*Please note most hospice providers do not practice law and are unable to directly help with wills and estate planning. Many providers are, however, able to give you a general idea of where to start and what to do.
Charlin Hospice Services
At Charlin Health Services, we pride ourselves on honor, integrity, excellence, compassion, dignity, and trust. Our Interdisciplinary Hospice Team functions as a family unit to assist each patient and their loved ones during this journey of life. Each member of any Charlin Hospice team can be reached anytime seven days a week.
If you have any needs or questions about hospice care, health services, or other medical needs, please send us an email or give us a call.