Guest Author: Alley Hathaway
Although much of a person’s life is spent planning, (planning for a wedding, for children, school, retirement) few will plan for their end-of-life care. While not all people will use hospice services in their lifetime, understanding the options available is of great importance. Hospice is associated with many myths, so here are the facts of hospice care, according to an employee of Tidewell Hospice.
A lot of the questions we get are based around qualifications, eligibility, insurance, and cost. I also hear a lot of questions about care and the team of caregivers.
A common misconception is that, with hospice, a patient receives less care than an individual not under care. When a patient signs on to service with Tidewell, a whole team of caregivers assist in the plan of care. Patients have access to a nurse whenever they need additional assistance with symptom management. CNAs, chaplains, social workers, physicians, case managers, and many other caregivers make up the interdisciplinary team. Interdisciplinary teams meet weekly to discuss patient needs and plans of care. On top of this, patients can choose to keep their primary care physician. Whether a patient is in a facility, at home, or in the hospital, continue to care for them.
As for who qualifies for hospice care: An individual must have a prognosis of six months or less, according to a doctor, if their admitting diagnosis follows its normal, natural progression. Of course, if someone were to come onto service and live beyond six months, Tidewell may still be able to provide care. Basically, the care team re-evaluates the patient’s eligibility and, if he or she still qualifies (meaning: if the patient still is in that “six-month” prognosis window), he or she will stay on service with hospice.
If a patient qualifies, the cost of care related to the admitting diagnosis is completely covered under insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. In the case that someone is in need of our services and is uninsured, we have sliding scale fees and have, thanks to our Philanthropy Department (now the Tidewell Foundation), we are able to provide about $2 million in unreimbursed care every year. Tidewell Hospice is a not-for-profit hospice, and, because of this, we never turn patients away. If someone needs services, is hospice eligible, but cannot pay, Tidewell will still accept that patient. We put patients before anything else.
About the Author:
Alley Hathaway is the Community Relations Representative for Tidewell Hospice
Tidewell Hospice has served Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties for 40 years and is always looking for new ways to help their community.
Our health goals and meanings evolve as we age, so when we strip away all the myths and scary ideas of what hospice is, we can make truly informed decisions.