I receive a lot of inquiries about Hospice so I thought a quick post was in order.

There are many misconceptions about Hospice and what it is and what it does. Hospice addresses the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of dying patients and their families. A team of interdisciplinary experts work together to provide palliative care, with the goal of making the patient as comfortable and pain-free as is possible during their remaining days, in their own home if possible. It's an option to anyone who has been determined by their physician to be terminally ill and who has six months or less to live. Many families mistakenly believe that it is only a resource to be used for the very last days or weeks of the patient’s life. That is unfortunate because they are not taking advantage of the many benefits it offers. 

Under the Medicare Hospice Benefit, all expenses associated with Hospice care, including a hospital bed if needed, medical equipment and other supplie,s are covered under the Hospice benefit. The patient must sign a form that states that they are choosing Hospice over other forms of medicare-covered benefits to treat their terminal illness. However, when it comes to coverage of prescription drug expenses, as explained in Medicare’s latest policy statement (October, 2015) the “medicare hospice benefit covers only drugs and biologicals used primarily for the relief of pain and symptom control for the terminal illness and related conditions.” It also states that “the Medicare hospice benefit does not pay for services that are curative in nature.”

I've written about Hospice in an Ask Nancy column. In addition, please check the resource section of this website to learn of some the different hospice organizations available here in south Florida 

I'm very excited to learn about Vitas Healthcare's new Residential Hospice Facility in Delray Beach (Palm Beach County, just North of Boca Raton). It's the first hospice inpatient unit that the company has built from the ground up.  The 14,000 square foot facility houses eight beds in a modern, home-like environment that includes a spacious family room and kitchen, a meditation room, and a spa area for patient services. It's on 2.2 acres that are fully landscaped with more than 1,700 native Florida plants, creating a park-like environment that overlooks a tranquility pond. The facility accepts 24-hour direct admissions of high-acuity patients referred by doctors and hospitals throughout Palm Beach. The facility will serve approximately 550 patients each year. 

For more information on Hospice Care, ask your physician or other healthcare provider. Also please visit the website of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. 

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Nancy Stein

Nancy Stein is the founder of Seniority Matters and lead author of the Seniority Matters Blog. This is where you can turn to read about new service providers, enhancements to the website, and updates and commentaries on issues and events that are of interest to the South Florida senior communities. Of course, no blog is complete without feedback from readers, so don't be shy! Leave a comment and let us know what you think

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