By now, you may know my feelings about dying hooked up to machines when there’s no chance of cure, and about the alternative of dying with dignity on hospice. But you still may not know how easy it is to get your loved one into hospice.
For example, the patient doesn’t even have to stay at a hospice facility. Hospice staff can come to the home, or to the nursing facility. Hospice can often be paid for by Medicare, Medicaid Hospice Benefit, or private insurance. And it’s also appropriate for Alzheimer’s patients, or simply those suffering from degenerative old age.
There’s only one eligibility requirement – a physician must certify that the patient has a life-expectancy of six months or less. And that’s it.
Hospice care is team-oriented, with nurses, social workers, doctors, clergy, and aides. And the care continues even after the patient has passed, with grief counseling for family members.
Hospice care neither prolongs nor hastens death…although you might be surprised to know that surveys show that patients on hospice actually live longer than those in hospitals.
Hospice treatment focuses on pain-management and patient comfort, rather than cure, and in helping the family deal with the emotional impact.
It allows the patient and family to treasure their last days together, in an atmosphere of peace and comfort, rather than rushing nurses, invasive testing, and loud “Stat!” announcements. It relieves the family of the care-giving burden, often allowing the last days with the loved one to be sweet and loving.
For a long time, hospice has been burdened by false perceptions. And, if you have a loved one with a terminal illness, you’re probably burdened with overwhelming questions. But we can help.
At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve been answering questions about hospice – and every other Elder Journey issue – for 34 years. We’ve helped thousands of South Florida families. And we’ve helped them prepare for the Elder Journey, as well, with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, and assistance with Medicaid or the VA.
We can answer your questions. And we’re just a phone call away.
P.S.: I practice what I preach. My own father passed away just a short time ago – on hospice.