Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Hospice:
“Hospice is the only Medicare benefit that includes pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, twenty-four hour/seven day a week access to care and support for loved ones following a death.
Hospice care is also covered by Medicaid and most private insurance plans.”
This information is one of the most important elements of the hospice story. When a patient is referred to Hope Hospice of St. Louis, our representatives share details about the care we provide. After we list the many aspects of our patient care, the question is asked, “How much will this cost?”
Upon learning that the costs of hospice care are covered by Medicare/Medicaid/private insurance, there is frequently an audible sigh of relief from the patient and/or family members.
When you consider that hospice care includes much more than visits by nurses and home health aides, the value of hospice care becomes obvious. Addressing a patient’s emotional, spiritual and social needs, as well as physical/medical needs, allows hospice to play a huge role in a patient’s end-of-life process. The support and assistance offered to the patient’s family—before and after the patient’s death—also contribute to the value of hospice care.
Patients and families should take advantage of any hospice service that is offered. At Hope Hospice of St. Louis, we are proactive in making patients and families aware of all we can do. A conversation with one of our chaplains can be comforting. Advice from our social worker can help in dealing with a variety of issues. Our massage therapist can provide relief from pain and general stress relief.
Based on comments we regularly receive from families following a patient’s death, we are gratified to learn the real value of our work. We are frequently told that being able to spend those final weeks and months at home—with hospice care—made things easier for the patient. We hear about patient and family appreciation for our high levels of compassion and concern.
One of the greatest values of hospice care is the knowledge that, following the patient’s death, family members will not receive an invoice for services rendered. That can provide genuine peace of mind for all concerned.