What is Hospice Care?
What is Hospice Care?
Under Medicare, hospice is primarily a program of care and support provided by a Medicare-approved agency or organization. Medicare beneficiaries that elect hospice care will receive necessary medical and supportive services to help manage their terminal illness. A personalized care plan is established by the beneficiary’s attending physician and the hospice care team.
Important Facts About Hospice
- Hospice provides comfort and support services to people who are terminally ill. It helps them live out the time they have remaining tothe fullest extent possible.
- Hospice care is provided by a specially trained team that cares for the “whole person,” including his or her physical, emotional, socialand spiritual needs.
- Hospice provides support to family members caring for a terminally-ill person.
- Hospice is generally given in the home.
- Hospice services may include drugs, physical care, counseling, equipment, and supplies for the terminal illness and related condition(s).
- Hospice is not only for people with cancer.
- Hospice focuses on comfort, not on curing an illness.
- Hospice does not mean giving up hope.
Medicare covers the following hospice services for your terminal illness and related conditions:
Nursing Care (intermittent with 24 Hour On Call)
Medical Equipment and Supplies Related to the Terminal Illness
Drugs for Pain and Symptom Management*
Hospice Aide and Homemaker Services
Physical, Speech & Occupational Therapy
Medical Social Services (Social Worker)
Counseling Including Dietary and Spiritual Counseling
Short-term Inpatient Care (For Pain and Symptom Management)
Short-term Respite Care*
Any Other Medicare Covered Services Needed
* – May need to pay a small copayment
Who is Eligible for the Medicare Hospice Benefit?
Hospice care is available under Medicare if ALL of the following conditions are met:
- The patient is eligible for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance).
- The patient’s doctor and the hospice medical director certify that the patient is terminally ill with 6 months or less to live if the illness runs its normal course.
- The patient signs a statement choosing hospice care instead of other Medicare-covered benefits for their terminal illness. **
- The patient receives care from a Medicare-approved hospice program.
* – Material excerpted from Medicare Hospice Benefit: Publication by: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
** – Medicare will still pay for covered benefits for health problems that are not related to your terminal illness.