Residents of Pennsylvania who are considering hospice care for a family member or loved one should be prepared to consider a variety of options as they go through the process. Learn more about Pennsylvania hospice resources and information below.
Understanding Medicare Options for Hospice Care
In order to understand what is available for those needing hospice care, it’s important to understand what is and is not covered under Medicare.
Note: Medicare rules apply to all states, not just Pennsylvania.
“Original Medicare” (Part A and Part B) is the federal health insurance program for individuals 65 years of age and older as well as younger residents with certain disabilities or conditions.
Medicare Part A covers inpatient care provided in a skilled nursing facility, hospital, or hospice setting. Medicare Part B covers outpatient care, such as doctor visits, durable medical equipment, ambulance transport, and preventive services.
If a patient is not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, most private insurance covers hospice care. Check with your individual provider to confirm coverage and to see if any copays or deductibles apply.
Hospice Eligibility Criteria
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care has created an easy-to-understand overview of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hospice eligibility requirements. These guidelines determine if a patient is or will soon be appropriate for hospice care.
Some of the guidelines include the following:
- Patient must have a terminal diagnosis with a prognosis of six months or less to live if their disease runs its typical course.
- Frequent hospitalizations in the past six months.
- A change in functional or cognitive abilities.
- Compromised activities of daily living including bathing, dressing, eating, continence, transferring, and walking.
- Increasing weight loss, fatigue, weakness, and somnolence.
- Recurring infections.
Finding a Hospice
There are several options to consider when selecting a hospice for your family member or loved one. On the Crossroads website, we’ve posted Pennsylvania hospice information that hospice patients and families should consider when choosing a hospice provider, including our range of services and locations. There is also information on the unique programs we offer including Gift of a Day, Grief Recovery, and programs for Veterans.
Another source worth checking into for Pennsylvania hospice information is a website sponsored by Hospice Analytics, Inc., an information-sharing research organization whose mission is to improve hospice utilization and access to quality end-of-life care through analysis of Medicare and other national datasets. Hospice Analytics maintains a list of over 200 Pennsylvania hospices across the state. The site also allows users to select various criteria such as range of services provided, size, accreditation, and other considerations.
The most important thing that individuals looking for Pennsylvania hospice resources need to remember is that they need to do their research to ensure that the hospice they select will best meet their needs. Online reviews are one resource to consider, but they should not be the only factor. Visit hospice websites and their social media accounts and look for recent news stories. The level and frequency of their online activity and the comments they receive could be good indicators of the quality and level of care that they provide.
When speaking with a hospice provider, ask if they are available on evenings and weekends and whether their care will increase in your loved one’s final days.
Finally, consider reaching out to informed healthcare professionals for advice and additional information. Having reliable information is key – especially for hospice patients and families facing such an important and emotional decision.
For more information on selecting a hospice provider, please contact Crossroads at 1-888-564-3405.
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