What Are the Benefits of Hospice Care?

May 29, 2007

Hospice care is a program that exists for end of life situations. Not only do hospice caregivers provide good medical and physical care, but also significant palliative (pain relief) therapy including counseling, spiritual support, and emotional as well as pain management. Hospice care is provided not only to the patient, but also to benefit the patient's family and friends, who are also experiencing emotional issues at a time when they know that their loved one is terminally ill.

Hospice is generally available to a patient regardless of age. However, that person must be diagnosed with an illness that generally limits life expectancy to 6 months or less. It is very difficult to estimate actual life expectancy, but as long as the diagnosis is made, it is usually accepted by the governmental authority making payment on behalf of the patient.

For example, Medicare will cover hospice services when a patient is certified by the physician that he or she qualifies for hospice care for a period of ninety (90) days. This is known as the election period. However, this period may be extended endlessly in additional sixty (60) day election period increments certified by the physician. Of course, if a patient is recovering and continues to improve, then hospice care may be discontinued.

In order to qualify for coverage, the patient...

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by: Hyman G. Darling, Esq.

Healthcare Ledger
June 2007

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