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Next Steps: When Your Loved One Needs Hospice Care

When caring for your loved one for several weeks, months, or even years, you may reach a point when you need the help of hospice care. You may feel guilty about handing your loved one over to someone else. Some people experience relief because they know that their loved one’s suffering is nearing an end. Hospice services can help everyone get through the difficult days ahead.

Knowing the steps that lay ahead could make chosing hospice care an easier option that benefits everyone involved.

When Can Your Loved One Receive Hospice Care?

Typically, hospice organizations will provide services to terminal patients expected to live fewer than six months. The specifics, however, can vary by organization and your loved one’s health condition.

Once hospice care has been chosen, the emphasis switches from treating the patient’s disease or ailment to making sure your loved one spends his or her remaining time living with as little discomfort as possible. Your hospice care provider may refer to this as palliative care.

In-Home or Inpatient Care

Many patients appreciate in-home care, too, because they would rather spend time in a familiar place than a hospital room.

As your loved one may choose inpatient care in a hospital or similar setting. Staying in a facility makes it possible for nurses and doctors to provide 24-hour services. Unless your loved one prefers staying home, inpatient hospice care is usually the most comfortable option.

Finding a Reliable Hospice Care Provider

Major cities in the United Stands usually have at least one hospice care provider. Massachusetts gives you several hospice care providers to consider. Hospice care providers in your area including:

If possible, take some time to review your options so you can make an informed choice. You can read online reviews, talk to other people who have been through similar experiences, and contact hospice care providers for more information about their programs.

Paying for Hospice Care

Paying for hospice care is probably the last thing that you want to think about. In the moment, you just want to make sure that your loved one gets the best possible end-of-life care.

Most health insurance policies cover the costs of hospice care. Some providers only accept policies from certain companies, though, so you should ask your care provider what types of insurance they take.

If your loved one has a Medicare health plan, then all hospice-related services are covered. Your family won’t have to pay anything to keep your loved one comfortable.

Medicaid will also cover your loved one’s bills as long as he or she has the optional Hospice benefit.

Keep in mind that government-sponsored programs often have strict rules about the types of services they will pay for and how much money they will spend on hospice care. It’s best if you know the details before your loved one enters hospice care.

Of course, some situations make it impossible for you to learn about complex rules. Just do your best and trust that everything will work out in the end. The majority of people with Medicare or Medicaid never have problems with their hospice care services.

Hospice Can Give Services to Survivors, Too

There’s no way to deny that losing a loved one hurts. It’s often especially painful for caregivers who have dedicated their time and energy to taking care of someone entering hospice care.

Hospice care, however, isn’t just for terminal patients. It’s also for you, your family and other people affected by the loss. Most hospice organizations employ social workers, therapists and other types of counselors to help survivors get through the grief that accompanies losing a loved one.

Caregivers that take advantage of hospice services are less likely to experience depression. They’re also less likely to develop stress-related health problems like heart disease.

If your hospice center offers survivor counseling, use that service. Counseling can help you and other family members recover from your loss.

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