When you have a loved one suffering from the daily pains and stress of a terminal illness, you eventually come to the realization that hospice care is the next step in providing them with end-of-life comfort and care. While people may realize that hospice care is what’s needed, they often don’t know what they need to do to get their close family and friends into a program. How exactly do you sign up your loved one for the hospice care they so desperately need? Read our two-step guide to learn about what you need to do to get your beloved the proper end-of-life care they deserve as soon as possible.
Step 1: Make Sure They Qualify for Hospice
The first step in signing up for hospice is making sure that your loved one qualifies for end-of-life care. What does that mean? There are certain requirements a person must meet under Medicare before they’re able to enter hospice care.
One of the first requirements to enter hospice care typically includes having your loved one’s physician and the chosen hospice provider’s staff physician certify that they are suffering from a terminal illness with a remaining life expectancy of less than six months.
One important thing to note is they don’t need a doctor’s order for an evaluation. Most life-limiting illness can qualify them for hospice. Hospice staff nurses evaluate a patient and their condition and help them proceed accordingly. Even this isn’t a prerequisite for qualifying—a lot of people self-refer to hospice themselves. Luckily, hospice agencies like Hospice of South Louisiana can either come to you and determine qualification or you can come to us and see if this is the right option to take at your current stage. Hospice will work with your doctor or hospice medical director to determine eligibility.
Hospice care programs accept payment from a variety of sources, including Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, and most private insurance providers. If you are paying for a loved one’s care through their private insurance, coverage will be verified before services begin.
Hospice is all about allowing others to live their life as fully and comfortably as possible. Hospice care does not mean that we do not treat. Additionally, living past their 6-month life expectancy does not mean they are automatically discharged from care. If a loved one has outlived their projected life expectancy, hospice staff doctors reevaluate them to determine whether hospice remains the best option for them. As long as they continue to have a terminal illness with a life length of less than 6 months, they can remain in hospice until the end of their life (with periodic eligibility reviews).
Hospice creates a support structure, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. It encourages those dealing with end-of-life care to make the most out of their time by helping them along their journey.
Step 2: What to Do After Acceptance into a Program
After you and your loved one’s doctor decide that hospice care is the appropriate option, the doctor will then submit a referral to inform the hospice AGENCY you’ve selected that you would like for them to begin treatment. After letting the AGENCY know exactly what kind of treatment your loved one needs, the hospice will get in touch with you and arrange a time for them to be formally admitted to begin treatment.
Hospice care usually begins within 1-2 days of receiving the physician’s referral but can start even sooner in extreme cases.
Need Help Signing Up? Contact Us Today.
If you think that enrolling in hospice is the right choice for your loved one, contact Hospice of South Louisiana today for a free consultation and evaluation by one of our trained nurses. We would be honored to help in any way we can during their end-of-life journey. We’ll walk you through all the steps you need to take to get the quality care and pain management they need, now.
Ready to get started? Please call us at (888) 893-3829 today.