Hospice care can make a huge difference as an individual suffering from a terminal illness nears the end of their life.

On average, there are roughly 1.4 million patients in hospice care per year. Hospice care is unlike other forms of medical care, in that recovery is not the objective.

If you believe that you or someone you love may be in need of hospice care, you’ve come to the right place. Not all patients qualify for hospice care and we’re here to cover the basic hospice care criteria.

Read on to find out if you or a loved one qualify for hospice care.

What Is Hospice Care?

As we mentioned earlier, hospice care is not a form of medical care that focuses on recovery or treatment. Instead, it is a form of medical and often spiritual care that focuses on the individual.

Hospice care is considered the last step of care for those who have a terminal illness. It is at this point that the care shifts from testing and recovery to comfort. The objective is to insure that patients are as physically comfortable and mentally at peace as they can be in the last weeks or months of their lives.

What Are the Hospice Care Criteria?

In order to qualify for hospice care, an individual must:

  • receive certification from two separate physicians that they are living with a terminal illness such as AIDS, cancer, congestive heart failure, or multiple sclerosis
  • receive certification from two separate physicians that they now have a life expectancy of six months or less

Before you begin looking for outstanding hospice care, there is also one final hospice eligibility requirement to consider. When entering hospice care, the patient and loved ones generally must agree that the time for curative treatment is over. If there are further medical treatments you want to try to prolong the patient’s life or combat the illness, it is likely not yet time for hospice care.

Hospice Insurance Coverage

Most hospice care patients are using Medicaid or Medicare to help pay for hospice care.

The specific eligibility requirements for both forms of insurance vary from state to state. However, they tend to mirror the hospice care criteria listed above. It is worth noting that Medicaid will not cover hospice care for patients under 21 and Medicare may provide additional coverage for services like counseling.

Many private insurance carriers will cover the full cost of hospice care. However, they may also have more eligibility requirements that patients must meet in order to qualify.

Is Hospice Care the Right Step?

For many patients suffering from a terminal illness, there comes a time when hospice care is the best next step. We hope that our brief guide to hospice care criteria has given you insight into whether or not hospice care is the best next step for you.

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