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Insider information on accessing the underutilized gifts available to the public through the healthcare system: Palliative Care and Hospice
Most people do not understand what “Palliative Care and Hospice” actually is, and how it could apply to them when dealing with a family health crisis. Those who think they understand what it is, are often scared off by the presumption that these are “death benefits” and change the subject. Either they feel It is too unpleasant to contemplate, or they feel that it would be like giving up on their loved one.
But, Palliative Care and Hospice are really quality of life benefits, and not just for the terminally ill patients, but also for the caregivers. Caregivers get access to expert partners who will join with them in providing the best possible support for their loved one.
These underutilized benefits of the health care system, many legally encoded, offer amazing support for those who are in the know. Taking advantage of these perks requires a certain mindset and proper information. By not availing ourselves of these amazing benefits, we are under serving ourselves and our loved one suffering with a serious or life-threatening illness.
Palliative Care is easier to accept for most of us because it is a dual path: Using it when seeking a cure for the illness, and also for the best quality of life and symptom management, at the same time.
When To Consider Palliative Care
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with a serious or life - limiting illness, you may want to consider Palliative Care. The focus of Palliative Care is to relieve the pain and symptoms associated with the illness, while you continue to receive curative treatment for your diagnosis. Its main goal is to provide the best possible quality of life for the patient, regardless of their age, or the stage of the disease.
Palliative Care is delivered by a team that typically consists of a clinician (physician or nurse practitioner), a nurse manager, and/or a social worker. The team may also include a nutritionist, creative arts therapist (music and art) and mental health or spiritual care providers such as a chaplain. These professionals can help lead discussions about the patient's goals of care, while providing support throughout all stages of the disease trajectory.
Palliative Care services are billed the same as any specialist-level visit (e.g. cardiology), and most insurance programs cover them, possibly with a co-pay. They may be offered in addition to - and not instead of - a primary care physician's services. Nowadays, most urban hospitals have a Palliative Care department, although it may not be widely advertised, and patients may have to specifically ask for a consultation. Patients can receive care anywhere they call home, including hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, or in your or your loved one’s home.
Palliative Care Information Act of 2011
In New York, the Palliative Care Information Act was passed into law in February 2011 to ensure that patients are fully informed of the options available to them when faced with a life-limiting or terminal illness. Health care practitioners are required to offer seriously ill patients information and counseling about Palliative Care and end-of-life options, including prognosis, range of options appropriate for this patient, risks and benefits of the various options, and the patient's legal right to comprehensive pain and symptom management at the end of life. If the patient is no longer competent to have these conversations, they must be held with the patient's health care agent (surrogate).
Of course, not every patient wishes to hear this information from their physician, and they have the right to refuse it. And not every physician or nurse practitioner feels equipped to have these serious conversations. In the latter case, the healthcare provider must arrange for another qualified physician or Nurse Practitioner to hold them.
What is Hospice?
Hospice, also known as comfort care, is for patients who have made the personal decision to no longer pursue curative treatment for an illness. Instead, they have decided to focus on quality of life and time with family and friends. The decision to seek hospice care is an important one. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, there may come a time when efforts to cure or even slow the illness are no longer working and become debilitating rather than helpful. If that time comes, you might want to consider the benefits of hospice care.
Patients usually transition to hospice care when they have decided to stop curative or aggressive treatments. "Hospice" focuses on comfort, not curing, respecting the fundamental principle that each of us has the right to live pain-free and die without suffering, and with dignity.
Who Qualifies For Hospice
Any person, at any age, can receive hospice care if the following criteria are met: 1. A licensed physician would not be surprised if this patient were no longer alive in six months if the disease runs its usual course, and, 2. The patient agrees to no longer pursue curative treatments.
Hospice Care is a personalized inter-disciplinary, specialist-level of care delivered by a team consisting of a board-certified physician or nurse practitioner, a registered nurse case manager, a social worker, clinical pastoral care providers (chaplains) and volunteers. The team may also include a licensed creative arts therapist (music and art). Goals of care discussions between the clinical staff, patient and loved ones help form the plan of care and lend support to the patient and the family throughout the course of the disease. Pre- and post- bereavement support is provided and extends to 13 months following a patient's death.
Most hospice care is delivered in the home setting, wherever the patient resides. This may include an apartment, home, nursing home, assisted living facility, etc. If the hospice care is provided at a skilled nursing or assisted living facility, it does not take the place of the facility’s existing staff. The hospice team supplements the facility’s care and coordinates with its clinical teams. Hospice care can also be provided in special units of contracted hospitals and in separate hospice residences.
Who Pays For Care?
Medicare, Medicaid, and all insurance programs offer hospice benefits. Many hospice agencies will also take on some patients who are unable to pay for their care through access to their internal foundation, grants or donations.
To good health!
About the author
Miryam Rabner, M.Phil., has been a community outreach liaison for MJHS Hospice and Palliative care in the Bronx and Manhattan for the past 16 years. MJHS is one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in the eastern seaboard region. MJHS provides home care services, hospice and palliative care for adults and children, rehabilitation and nursing care, and the research-based MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care.
Miryam is a guest poster and friend of Senior Care Authority of New York and Southwest Florida.
Senior Care Authority of New York and Southwest Florida offers assistance with quality-of-life preparation, planning and care. Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn more about this and our other services, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
When a loved one is seriously ill, finding the best care available is your top priority. You may be familiar with the terms palliative care, and hospice care, but do you know the difference between the two? While the two are often conflated, palliative care and hospice care differ greatly.Hospice provides medical care during terminal illnesses, in addition to emotional, spiritual, and physical support, following a prognosis of six-months or less. Medicare, which covers a significant portion of hospice care, also requires that the patient cease any treatments intended to cure the illness. These treatments might include chemotherapy, drugs to combat psychosomatic conditions, and more. Ultimately, hospice care aims to keep the patient as comfortable as possible as terminal illness progresses into its final stages.On the other hand, palliative care may be provided at any time following the diagnosis of a serious illness, such as renal disease and any progressive disease (pulmonary, cardiac, etc.). Unlike hospice, palliative care does not require the cessation of curative treatments, while still providing the same relief from pain and symptoms. Ultimately, palliative care focuses on improved quality of life for both the patient and his or her family.The Larsen Pavilion at Shell Point has partnered with Hope Hospice to offer hospice care through a 9-bed, general inpatient unit. The Larsen Pavilions compassionate, personalized healthcare is complemented by its scenic waterfront setting. To learn more about this and other services at the Larsen Pavilion, including memory care and specialized rehabilitative therapy, call (239) 415-5432.
5 Differences Between Hospice and Palliative CareIntroduction to Hospice Care and Palliative CareYou have probably heard of hospice care and palliative care before. However, many people do not know exactly what these terms mean or the difference between them. Hospice care and palliative care are types of comfort care for people facing serious illnesses. The purpose of both hospice care and palliative care is to make the patient more comfortable by offering pain management and symptom relief.Read on to learn more about hospice and palliative care, as well as the similarities and differences between them.What is hospice care?What is hospice care?Hospice is compassionate comfort care for people with a terminal illness approaching the end of life. Patients must have a life expectancy of six months or fewer to receive Hospice care. However, in Florida, some private pay insurance companies allow for a life expectancy of up to one year. Hospice care is designed for people with illnesses that are not curable, or who do not want to undergo any further treatments. Instead, they wish to spend their remaining time in the comfort of their own home surrounded by their loving family. With hospice, they can receive end-of-life care to make their final days, weeks, or months of life more comfortable and pain-free. Hospice services can include home care, in-patient hospice care, spiritual services, family meetings, care coordination, respite care, and bereavement care.Hospice identifies as being family-centered and focuses on the grieving family just as much as the patient.Florida has the second highest number of hospice patients in the US, behind California. In 2018, there were over 130,000 hospice admissions in Florida. What is palliative care?Like hospice, palliative care is also compassionate comfort care for people with serious illnesses like cancer or heart failure. Palliative care provides pain and symptom management services for the patient. This type of care also aims to relieve stress and improve the quality of life of the patient and their family. Other parts of palliative care can include informing patients of their treatment options, assisting with necessary legal documents such as advance directives, offering spiritual services and more.Palliative care can be provided at any stage of an illness, including at diagnosis, during treatments, and at the end of life.According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), this type of care has been shown to not only improve the quality of life of patients with serious illnesses, but also reduce caregiver burden and avoidable utilization.Additionally, the Florida Palliative Care Coalition (FPCC) states that palliative care is one of the most impactful methods of improving the quality of care for patients with serious illnesses.What is the Difference Between Hospice Care and Palliative Care?While similar in nature, there are several differences between hospice care and palliative care:Intent of careOne of the main differences between hospice and palliative care is the intent or goal of the care. Hospice care does not have curative intent, or the goal of curing the illness. Instead, it is provided to patients with incurable illnesses or who decline further treatments. Conversely, palliative care can be provided with or without curative intent. Patients may receive palliative care in conjunction with attempted treatments for their illnesses.Eligibility for Hospice and Palliative CareTo be eligible for hospice care, two physicians must certify that the patient has six months or fewer to live if the disease runs its natural course.On the other hand, palliative care services can begin at any time or stage of the illness based on the physicians or patients discretion. A patients condition does not have to be terminal for them to receive palliative care.How to pay for Hospice and Palliative CareHospice care costs can be paid 100% by Medicare, Medicaid, and/or private insurance. In fact, hospice is the only Medicare benefit that covers pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, full-time care access, nursing, social services, grief support, chaplain visits, and more. Palliative care is frequently paid for by private insurance, though Medicare may cover some of the services depending on your benefits and treatment plan. Palliative care costs can include prescriptions, medical visits and many other services. Where Hospice Care and Palliative Care are deliveredHospice care is provided where the patient lives. According to the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association, 80% of hospice care takes place in the patients home. It can also be provided in nursing homes, assisted living communities, or other long-term care facilities.While palliative care can also be delivered in home settings, it is often provided in a hospital or outpatient clinic setting.Who provides Hospice Care and Palliative CareHospice care is usually provided by a team consisting of home health aides, nurses, clergy, hospice physicians, social workers, specialized therapists, and even volunteers.Palliative care is different. Since it is often planned and provided concurrently with specific treatments, it is usually delivered by a team of specially-trained physicians, nurses, the patients primary doctor, and other specialists.Why are Hospice Care and Palliative Care important?It is valuable for older adults to understand hospice and palliative care so they can make informed decisions about their end-of-life wishes. For example, people should express to their family members and doctors in advance if they would want to pursue life-extending treatments if the situation arises. Older adults should also communicate their preferred setting to receive end-of-life care if the time comes, whether that be at home, in a hospital, or in a long-term care setting. Even if these services never end up being necessary for you, it is best to be prepared to ensure your wishes are carried out.How to Find Hospice Care or Palliative CareFinding the best hospice or palliative care for a loved one can be overwhelming, especially when you already have a lot on your plate. Let us help. Florida Senior Consulting is connected with the best professionals in Florida. We can help set you up with the providers you need to get the best care for your loved one. From securing home health care providers to personally coordinating medical appointments and everything in between, we will take on your loved ones case and treat them as if they were our own family.Well help you spend more time with your senior loved one and less time worrying about them.We believe senior care should be on your terms, and the choice should always be yours. Visit our website FloridaSeniorConsulting.com or call (941) 661-6196 to for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We have your best interest at heart and cant wait to get started.
Seniors Blue Book of Greater Pittsburgh was proud to be one of the In-Kind sponsors of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging conference last week where local experts gathered to discuss Social Determinants of Health for the Aging. The Keynote Speaker was Rep. Arvind Venkat. As a physician and legislator, he has a unique understanding and insight into the factors that support the health and well-being of our community. What are Social Determinants and why should you care??Social Determinants are the conditions in which we live, work, play, worship, and age.If you had to guess, how significant are these factors in our health? 10%? 20%? 30%? More?These 5 factors influence up to 40% of our health outcomes!State governments play a crucial role in addressing the social determinants of health by implementing policies and programs that can significantly impact the health and well-being of older adults.So what can we do? In addition to voting and communicating with our local state representatives, here are some practical tips that you can do to incorporate these key needs into your daily life: Stay connected with loved ones: schedule regular phone calls, video chats, or in-person visits with friends and family. Engage in social activities: join a senior center, take up a new hobby, or volunteer in your community. Maintain a healthy diet: eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit processed foods and sugary drinks. Get regular exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week. Seek preventative care: schedule regular check-ups with your doctor and dentist.You can significantly improve your overall health and well-being by taking small steps each day. And dont hesitate to seek help from caregivers, healthcare providers, or community organizations if you need additional support. Embark on a journey towards a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life!This article was written by Patty Toner, Director of Marketing for Seniors Blue Book of Greater Pittsburgh.
We know that navigating senior care options can be overwhelming for you and your family. As your advocate, we can do the homework for you.Well help you sort through and understand all your care options, traverse a complex healthcare system, get accurate and up-to-date information, and connect you to vetted local resources. How can we help you make the best choices for your loved one?