Caring for an elderly parent is challenging. There may be a time when it becomes too challenging to handle it alone.
One thing you should consider is hospice care. It offers a world of benefits, but isn’t taken advantage of often enough.
Here are five things you might not know about hospice care.
Get hospice care before you really need it.
The main requirement for hospice care is that your loved one is terminally ill and expected to live less than six months. An 85-year-old with Parkinson’s disease and heart disease could be considered terminally ill. Talk with your parent’s doctor – he will be the one to sign off on hospice care anyway.
And just because your parent may pass away in six months, it doesn’t mean he will. Hospice care can continue for as long as your parent needs it, providing he continues to meet the qualifications.
The other main requirement for hospice care is that your parent agrees to accept palliative care. This simply means that instead of trying to cure his illness – which in many case isn’t possible anyway – your parent agrees to receive comfort care instead.
Hospice is covered by Medicare.
Did you know that hospice care is covered by Medicare? Just make sure that the hospice you choose is Medicare certified.
Your loved one will receive many services through hospice, including nursing care, prescription drugs, and medical equipment and supplies.
Note that hospice care does not pay for room and board either at nursing homes or at specialized hospice facilities
Hospice care is available in nursing homes.
You might choose hospice care to help keep your parent in his home. Others might choose a specialized hospice facility.
But what if your parent is already in a nursing home? Hospice services will provide care in nursing homes as well, providing your parent with an extra level of care.
Choose a hospice service wisely.
Services vary from hospice to hospice.
Some hospice services won’t do home visits on weekends or holidays, but others do. Some will only provide patient care, while others will help with housekeeping and laundry.
Check around to find the hospice with the most services available to you. Interview a few different services and ask lots of questions.
Most hospice services provide volunteers.
Many hospice services will provide volunteers that will sit with your loved one for a few hours a week, giving you some time for yourself.
Oftentimes your volunteer will be a retired healthcare professional. Knowing that your parent is in the hands of retired professional can be a comforting thought.
Caring for your parent at the end of his life can be physically and emotionally draining. Hospice care can be a huge benefit not only to your parent, but to you as well.