November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. The best way to celebrate it is by informing yourself. As you continue reading, you’ll find helpful information on hospice care, why it should matter to older adults, and how you can get it covered by Medicare health insurance.

Understanding Hospice

The unfortunate reality is that older adults need to spend time thinking about their end of life care plans before it’s too late. Hospice is one option you should consider. It’s defined as medical care that helps someone with a terminal illness live as well as possible for as long as possible. The goal of hospice is to increase the patient’s quality of life during an otherwise challenging time.

One of the major advantages of choosing hospice over something like a retirement center is that patients are able to live in their own homes while receiving it. This enables older adults to get the medical attention they need in an environment they’re familiar with and comfortable in. Hospice can also be administered in nursing homes, assisted living centers, and other health care systems if that’s what you prefer.

Tips for Hospice Caregivers

Caring for a patient who’s in hospice can feel overwhelming. You can make the process easier for you and your patient by implementing several key strategies. First, take time to learn as much about your patient’s illness as possible. Doing so will help to reduce the anxiety you may have about treating it, making you a more successful caregiver.

Second, be mindful of your options. Some conditions can be treated at home, while others require the equipment and physician access offered by special facilities and hospitals. You and your patient should work together to come up with a plan addressing these issues. You’ll both have a clearer understanding of how the care will proceed, and you’ll make the patient more comfortable by showing them that you’re thinking ahead.

Finally, hospice caregiving is a process that will join you and your patient at the hip. Don’t forget to encourage your loved one’s independence from time to time. Doing so will prevent you from growing tired of one another. It will also help your patient feel better to be able to accomplish things on their own from time to time, bringing a little light to an otherwise challenging time.

Hospice and Medicare

Older adults with Medicare Part A health insurance can receive hospice care as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • Your hospice doctor and regular doctor each certify you as terminally ill (with a life expectancy of 6 months or less)
  • You choose comfort-based care rather than care designed to address the illness
  • You sign a statement that legalizes your choice of hospice care over other Medicare-covered treatment plans

If you or your loved one meets these requirements, then hospice care will be covered at no cost to you through Medicare. This ensures you’re able to get the end of life care you want without having to worry about how you’re going to pay for it.

That being said, you may still have a few questions about Medicare and hospice care. If so, consider reaching out to Time For 65. We’re the Medicare experts who can walk you through your coverage. You can reach us Time For 65’s partnered licensed agents by filling out this form or giving us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.