Every November, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) establishes a theme for the month. This year for 2023 it is Courageous Conversations.
It takes courage to have conversations about what we want at the end of life, both for ourselves and for our loved ones. Our Aging Life Care Advisors™/Care Managers will help facilitate these conversations, help your family to understand how palliative care and hospice work together, and help you find the right resources.
Both palliative care and hospice provide comfort for the whole person by addressing physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. This focus of care is provided to the entire family, not just the patient.
Palliative care is available at any stage of a serious illness, and you can receive palliative care at the same time as you receive curative treatments.
Once someone decides to stop treatment, often because the side effects outweigh the benefits or there are no longer curative options, they may move to hospice. Hospice as comfort care (pain and symptom management), without curative treatment, is available when there is a life expectancy of six months or less.
Unfortunately, because end-of-life conversations are typically difficult to have, most terminally ill patients do not take advantage of the full six months and many often die within days of going into hospice. When hospice begins earlier, it is possible that you can graduate from it and come back later. If someone is still alive after six months, they can continue hospice and palliative care if they re-certify as terminally ill.
Palliative care is often covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances. There may be copays or deductibles, so contact your insurance provider. Hospice is covered by Medicare. One myth of hospice is that the team comes into your home and basically takes over all care. Hospice oversees care, but the family and professional caregivers, like our Springpoint at Home Certified Home Health Aides, can continue to help with personal day-to-day care, augmenting the few hours per week from a hospice aide.
Having the Springpoint at Home team by your side, along with hospice, is an important support system during this time.
To learn more about Springpoint at Home and the help we can provide, please call 844-724-1777.