When a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it can be difficult to know what the next step should be. You may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn for help. The doctor caring for your loved one will be able to recommend options.
One option that you may want to consider is hospice care. Hospice provides specialized care for those who are terminally ill, and can offer much-needed support during this difficult time.
However, before you decide if hospice is right for your loved one, it’s important to ask some questions about hospice care. It’s important to remember that there are different levels of hospice care, from in-home to inpatient. In this blog post, we will discuss 5 important questions to ask when seeking hospice care.
What are the costs of hospice care?
Here at Crown Hospice, we never bill a patient for any expense that is related to their terminal illness. At Crown Hospice we cover all medications, equipment, aides service, spiritual services, social work services, nursing services, and medical directory services. There is no need to worry about any bills from Crown Hospice.
It’s important to note and make the differentiation that a small portion of agencies may leave you with some out-of-pocket costs. Hospice care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurance plans. Most hospices are certified by Medicare but it’s best to make sure before any contracts get signed. Coverage should include necessary equipment, home health aides, and counseling & grief support for the patient and family.
What Level of Care Is Right For Your Loved One?
Hospice care has 4 different levels. Depending on the illness, home situation, and caregiver situation not every level of hospice care is right for your loved one.
The 1st level is routine care at home for basic medical and personal care. From there it moves up to a continuous care level. This level is for those who need continuous care for at least 8 hours in a 24-hour window when they have symptoms that need to be treated by a medical professional.
The next level from there is general inpatient care. This is a level similar to the previous level, but when the needs can not be met in their home. The next level from there is respite care. We all know that caring for an ill loved one is not an easy thing to do. Respite care is there to help take over for the caregiver so they can run errands, relieve some stress, or take a trip. In most cases of respite care, the patient is temporarily admitted to an inpatient setting for as many as 5 days.
What level of care is right for your loved one can be established by the doctor or the hospice staff that are helping care for your loved one. The goal of the hospice staff is to help your loved one be as comfortable as they can.
How are concerns handled from the patient and family perspective?
We all know that the role of the caregiver is a stressful one. But in the end, all we want is for our loved one to be as comfortable as possible. And the role of caregiver comes with many new terms to understand and skills to master. It’s a very overwhelming time. This often can lead to confusion, misunderstandings, or concerns.
It’s important to know how concerns are handled, especially if you have to be away to work while your loved one is cared for at times. Asking how these concerns are handled in advance can help you and your loved one know what to do should any concern arise.
What are the requirements and expectations of you as a family member?
Often times hospice is an overwhelming thing. There’s medication and supplies to manage, care to consider, and ensuring that your loved one is comfortable. It leaves the caregiver overwhelmed and stressed about what their duties are. And depending on the level of care being given to your loved one, your duties can change.
For example, are you responsible for administering any medications when there’s no one at home? Does someone come into the home when all medications are to be given and do them for you? Do you have to be the one to pick up medications from the pharmacy? Does the hospice staff bring the medications with them? You also want to know about how medication changes are handled. If your loved one is in pain and needs a stronger dose of medications, how is that handled?
You want to make sure that you know what the hospice team expects of you at each level of care in advance, so you can better prepare for caring for your loved one. It’s also best to know in advance what is expected of you so that you can ensure that it’s realistic for your situation.
Will there be any training provided?
Depending on the illness and the level of care, what’s expected of you can change. If you don’t have any prior caregiving experience then you will want to ask if will you be trained for the things you need to know how to do. It’s also wise to ask if there will be reference material for the future. We all learn in different ways and for some caregivers, it’s best to learn by doing and having something to reference when the time comes. Being a caregiver to a loved one is an overwhelming task that can leave you feeling like you’ve forgotten a million things.
Caring for a loved one with a terminal illness is not an easy task. Often caregivers are left with many questions about how things will work. Asking these questions in advance can help you better prepare for hospice care for a loved one.
At Crown Hospice, we understand that every patient, and every family, is unique. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you through this difficult time.