Tennessee residents contemplating hospice care for a family member or another loved one should review a range of options when making their decision. Learn more about Tennessee hospice resources and information below.
Understanding Medicare Options for Hospice Care
To fully understand what options are available for those needing hospice care, it is important to understand what is and is not covered under the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
Note: Medicare rules apply to all states, not just Tennessee.
“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 designed 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:
- Patient must have received a terminal diagnosis with a prognosis of six months or less to live if their disease runs the typical course.
- Frequent hospitalizations in the past six months.
- Compromised activities of daily living including eating, bathing, dressing, continence, transferring, and walking.
- A change in functional or cognitive abilities.
- Recurring infections.
- Increased weight loss, weakness, fatigue, and somnolence.
How to Find a Hospice
There are many options to consider when selecting a hospice for your family member or loved one. We’ve posted Tennessee hospice information on the Crossroads website that hospice patients and families should consider when selecting a hospice provider, including our our range of services and locations. There is also information on the unique programs we offer including Grief Recovery, Gift of a Day, and programs for Veterans.
Another resource to explore for Tennessee 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 100 Tennessee 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 patients and families seeking Tennessee hospice resources need to keep in mind is that they need to do their homework. Online reviews are one thing to consider, but they should not be the only determining factor in the decision. Visit the hospice organization’s website, its Facebook page, and other social media and look for recent news stories. The level and frequency of online activity as well as what people are saying about them could be good indicators to the level and quality of service they provide.
Finally, seek advice and additional information from informed healthcare professionals. Having reliable information is essential for hospice patients and families facing such an emotional, life-changing decision.
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