The HealthKeeperz Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Benefits of Hospice Care

The HealthKeeperz Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Benefits of Hospice Care

Daniel Hall 13/03/2023
The HealthKeeperz Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Benefits of Hospice Care

Many people equate the word “hospice” with giving up — but nothing could be further from the truth.

While hospice does refer to end-of-life care, its purpose isn’t about giving in; it’s about giving support. HealthKeeperz, a community-focused health care provider with more than five decades of experience in the field, asserts that there are numerous advantages to be gained by taking the time to truly understand and utilize available hospice services for a dying loved one. In order to elevate care and maximize outcomes for patients and their families, HealthKeeperz has put together this guide to help navigate hospice care from the planning stages and treatment phases through the final bereavement process.

HealthKeeperz Hospice Care 101: What Does End-of-Life Care Entail?

Hospice care encompasses a broad spectrum of end-of-life services. Though reserved for patients whose conditions are no longer considered curable, it should also be noted that hospice care is not an irreversible choice. Should new treatment regimens become available, patients and their families may opt to revert to a curative care model.

Palliative care protocols are designed to maximize physical comfort and provide patients with the best possible quality of life. Unsurprisingly, many palliative services performed in a curative care regimen overlap with those performed during hospice care. 

On a physical level, hospice care includes such services as pain management and the administration of other medications as prescribed by the patient’s physician or medical team, routine monitoring of health status, feeding/hydration protocols, the performance of personal hygiene procedures, and the treatment of conditions often inherent to the end-of-life process (such as wound care and other skin issues that cause discomfort).

In addition to addressing physical needs, some hospice team members are trained to deal with mental health issues. The services of these professionals aren’t limited to patients, but often extend to the family members and caregivers coping with the stresses associated with end-of-life concerns. Along with emotional support, faith-based organizations such as HealthKeeperz also provide spiritual counseling to patients, families, and caregivers for the duration of the end-of-life care and through bereavement processes.

Home Hospice Care or Institutional Hospice Care: Which Is Better?

“Hospice is an approach to care, so it is not tied to a specific place,” explains the National Institute on Aging. “It can be offered in two types of settings — at home or in a facility such as a nursing home, hospital, or even in a separate hospice center.” 

While it has its place, generally speaking, institutional care may not be the ideal hospice scenario for several reasons. While institutional care works well for curative modalities in which having doctors, nurses, and other medical staff on-site is essential to saving patients’ lives in crisis situations, the numerous benefits of home hospice care often far outweigh the mere expedience an institutional setting provides.

The obvious difference between hospital hospice and home hospice is that in a medical facility, the staff is often responsible for an entire ward of patients, while home-based care focuses on one patient and their core caregivers. For that reason, home hospice care can be customized to meet the individual needs of that patient and their unique circumstances. This allows for a more holistic approach that takes personal preferences, values, and beliefs into consideration.

Statistically, receiving undivided attention — minus the demands and distractions of a hectic hospital environment — often equates to a higher level of care and better overall reported outcomes for patients and their families. “Patients who receive care in their homes at the end of life report higher satisfaction with the medical services provided to them than those in other settings. New data indicate that place of death may be an important quality measure for end-of-life care,” Hospice News reported. 

Some of the most significant benefits of home hospice versus end-of-life hospital care include emotional benefits. In what’s often described as the “warehouse” ambience of a hospital, patients often feel isolated and forgotten. These negative emotions reinforce loneliness and despair, which, if unalleviated, may lead to chronic depression. On the other hand, along with retaining a sense of personal individuality, home hospice affords patients heightened feelings of continuity, safety, comfort, and as much overall mental well-being as their condition allows. As another added bonus, a patient’s final wishes are more likely to be carried out in a home setting as opposed to an institutional one, which also brings them peace of mind.

Spiritual benefits are another plus. Medical services that offer spiritual counseling can help patients accept their circumstances and make peace with their loved ones and their god in a serene, nonthreatening environment. As the chaplains at HealthKeeperz can attest, spiritual support isn’t only vital for those in care, but also for those who share in the end-of-life journey. Feeling connected to a larger faith community — such as the one provided by HealthKeeperz — can be essential to sustaining the emotional strength necessary to see patients, family members, and caregivers through one of life’s most challenging times.

Additionally, there can be financial benefits. Simply put, home hospice care costs significantly less than end-of-life care in a hospital. In the 2018 study “Hospital-Level Care at Home for Acutely Ill Adults: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial,” it was reported that acute care for an in-home patient cost, on average, 52% less than comparable care in a hospital setting. 

Home Hospice Care: What’s Covered and What’s Not?

While not all home hospice services, supplies, and medical equipment are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance providers, most are. In fact, if an expense isn’t considered “curative,” there’s a good chance it’s covered. 

According to AARP, “Medicare … covers medical supplies and up to 80% of the cost of medical equipment, such as a wheelchair or walker, if a doctor certifies that it is medically necessary.” Medicare will also cover the costs of part-time home health care aides and medical social workers if the expenses have been approved by the patient’s physician; likewise, if approved in advance, Medicare will even pay for the costs of respite intervention for caregivers and light housekeeping duties. (A full list of covered hospice benefits can be found on the Medicare website.)

Pursuing the Home Hospice Option: What Steps Should I Take First?

To recap: When employed effectively, home hospice care provides physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort to patients and their families while simultaneously helping ease their financial concerns regarding the cost of care. HealthKeeperz advises planning in advance for anyone who is contemplating hospice care for a loved one — or even themselves. 

Thorough research will be crucial in determining everything you’ll need to know in order to establish a practical hospice plan that speaks to your financial, logistical, emotional, and spiritual prerequisites. Reaching out to a trusted health care agency in your area for advice and information is a great place to start.

HealthKeeperz recommends making sure the company you contact is Medicare/Medicaid certified and has proper accreditation in your state. Learning which specific hospice service options are available in your area and which are covered by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, will enable you to make the kind of informed decisions that ensure you or your loved one gets the most out of the end-of-life care experience.

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Daniel Hall

Business Expert

Daniel Hall is an experienced digital marketer, author and world traveller. He spends a lot of his free time flipping through books and learning about a plethora of topics.


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