The hospice benefit is among Medicare’s most unique in that it treats the whole person – medically, emotionally, psychosocially and spiritually. While each patient’s care plan will cater to their unique needs at the end of life, hospice providers like Amedisys offer a core set of services, including skilled nursing care, hospice aides, medical social workers, chaplains, volunteers and bereavement support professionals.
The hospice care team, in coordination with the patient’s physician, will determine the frequency of visits from each discipline. Our hospice clinicians have in-depth knowledge, experience and training caring for those at the end of life and practice their craft with compassion and empathy.
*If you are a current Amedisys patient, please contact your Care Center directly.
What is Hospice?
Hospice is defined as supportive care focusing on comfort and quality of life for patients with a terminal illness and a life expectancy of six months or less as certified by a physician. The hospice team keeps patients comfortable and supports caregivers and loved ones as they grieve.
Hospice Care Services
Which services does hospice care provide for end-of-life care? Depending on the patient’s needs, hospice care can include the following:
The Four Levels of Hospice Care
Hospice care can be administered in one of four levels depending on the patient’s needs and the family’s circumstances. All hospice services listed above are provided in each level.
Routine Home Care
In the most common, standard type of hospice care, patients are treated in a comfortable and familiar environment wherever they call home.
When a patient’s caregivers need a break, the hospice team can transfer the patient to respite care for up to five days/five nights in a long-term care facility or other inpatient facility with 24-hour nursing available.
Continuous Home Care
When patients need more intensive medical care for short-term urgent healthcare needs or symptom crises that can still feasibly be addressed from home, patients may enter into continuous home care.
General Inpatient Care
The hospice team can facilitate a transfer to a hospital, long-term care facility or hospice inpatient unit if their terminal illness and accompanying pain and symptoms cannot be feasibly controlled at home.
Learn more about the specifics of the four levels of hospice care.
The Benefits of Hospice Care
Hospice care honors patients’ overwhelming preference to die peacefully at home rather than in a hospital or facility. In addition, it benefits the patient and family in the following ways:
Improving Comfort and Quality-of-Life
Hospice provides comfort to patients through pain management, which is achieved through a treatment plan that includes a medication regimen, companionship, spiritual care and other forms or thoughtful caretaking.
Respecting Patients’ Goals
Every hospice plan of care starts with establishing the patient’s end-of-life goals. The hospice team then develops their unique plan to help ensure they are met.
Providing Support to Loved Ones
Family members and caregivers are included in the hospice care plan with education, guidance and bereavement support.
Nurses are available 24 hours a day, including after-hours, weekends and holidays, enabling peace of mind.
Medicare typically covers 100% of hospice costs for eligible patients, including medications, equipment and supplies related to the patient’s terminal illness.
Preventing Avoidable Hospital Visits
With access to high-quality care, patients are less likely to require hospital visits with the hospice care team managing symptoms at home, when possible.
Approaching Care with a Team
Every hospice care team is interdisciplinary with nurses, aides, social workers, counselors and others who work together to address the physical, emotional, psychosocial and spiritual needs of patients and their families.
Is Hospice the Answer for Your Loved One?
Wherever you are in your journey of discovering whether it’s time to begin the conversation on hospice with your family, Amedisys is here to help with these tools:
If you’re ready to speak to a hospice specialist, please complete the form at the bottom of this page or visit our location directory to find a care center near you.