To qualify for hospice care an individual must be considered to be terminally ill with a prognosis of 6 months or less. This does not mean care will only be provided for six months. There is no way to be certain just how long a person has left to live. Therefore, hospice can be provided as long as the person’s physician and hospice team certify the condition remains life-limiting.
The best way to choose a provider is to call with smart questions, and then interview the providers you’re interested in. All hospice agencies are required to provide the same basic hospice benefit. Here are a list of some of some smart questions you may want to ask.
How Often Will The Hospice Agency Send Staff To Visit The Patient?
- All hospice agencies are required to provide a Registered Nurse, Hospice Aide, Social Worker, Chaplain and Physician as part of the patient’s plan of care. Most hospice agencies provide a maximum number of visits per week which is usually 1 Nurse Visit per week, 3 Hospice Aide Visits per week, and as needed for social worker, chaplain, and physician visits
- At Inspiration Hospice those per week visits are our minimum level of care, we evaluate every patient individually. We provide daily hospice aide visits and twice weekly nursing visits for our patients as they need them.
Does The Hospice Agency Have A Good Volunteer Program?
- Volunteers are the heart and soul of any good hospice agency. Amazing hospice volunteers provide caregiver relief, hand holding, companionship, and much more. Most hospice agencies struggle to provide the Medicare hospice requirement of 5% additional care to their patients.
- Inspiration Hospice has an amazing volunteer program. We have over 88 active volunteers and provide an additional 40% of care to our patients through our volunteer program.
What Extra Financial Help Does The Hospice Agency Provide?
- Any good hospice agency should provide financial relief to their patients and families by paying for any medications, medical equipment, and supplies related to their hospice diagnosis. However, hospice agencies use a lot of discretion regarding what they are willing to pay for.
- Inspiration Hospice will always err on the side of providing financial relief for our patients and families. We always pay for anything related to the patient’s hospice diagnosis including incontinence supplies, comfort medications, wheelchairs, hospital beds and much more.
How Does The Hospice Agency Provide Care After Hours?
- Hospice agencies are required to be available to their patients 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The major difference between hospice agencies is how they choose to provide it. Some agencies hire an answering service to provide care for their patients after hours.
- At Inspiration Hospice we have full time staff that provide care for our patients after normal business hours. We will always have a nurse available to make visits any time of day or night.
How Long Does It Take For The Hospice Agency To Start Care After A Request Is Made?
- Most hospice agencies require a day or two advanced notice to start hospice care from the time a request is made.
- At Inspiration Hospice we have an amazing team of admissions nurses. Therefore we are able to admit a patient within just a few hours of a request for care.
What Unique And Extra Services Does The Hospice Agency Provide?
- Inspiration Hospice provides a lot of extra services to our patients including massage therapy, music therapy, art therapy, aromatherapy, and our unique 11th hour program.
Anyone can inquire about hospice services. You or your loved one may call Inspiration Hospice and request services. Inspiration Hospice will then setup a meeting with the patient and family with a registered nurse, and contact your physician to determine if a referral to hospice is appropriate. We are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It doesn’t matter if it is Sunday at 3:00 in the morning, if you need to talk or meet with us we are available any time.
Hospice coverage is provided by Medicare, Medicaid and by most private health insurance policies. Medicare and/or Medicaid are the most frequent sources of payment. Both will pay at 100% for hospice care. Inspiration Hospice assesses patients based on need and not financial status, we will never charge the family for our services.
Patients don't have to give up their doctors under hospice care. Sometimes patients are hesitant about hospice because they think it will mean that they can't keep their doctors. But the Medicare benefit encourages doctors to follow their patients on hospice, allowing the patient to receive care from both their personal doctor, and the hospice physician.