What to Know about Hospice Care in Senior Living

Hospice care can be delivered in whatever setting a patient calls home, including senior living communities. Here’s what families should know.

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There are many myths surrounding hospice, especially as it relates to where care can be delivered. Many people mistakenly believe hospice can be provided only in a hospice house, or in a private home where a family caregiver is available 24/7. While hospice support can be arranged in both these locations, it is actually available in whatever setting a patient calls home. That includes senior living communities.

If someone in your family resides in a senior living community and has a life-limiting illness, you may be worried that when their condition worsens, they will have to relocate in order to receive hospice. Yet maintaining the friendships, familiarity, and security of their current community is more important than ever at this time.

Fortunately, your family won’t have to choose between an senior living community and hospice care.

Hospice for All Settings

Hospice can come right to your family member’s apartment, assisted living suite, or long-term care center. An eligible resident can receive all the benefits of hospice, ranging from pain management to music therapy.

Providing hospice care in an senior living community continues to grow in popularity. In fact, research from Argentum, a trade association for senior housing providers, shows that nearly one-third of residents in senior living communities also receive hospice care.

What Is Hospice?

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), “hospice is defined as a model of care that emphasizes compassion and values quality of life for those facing life-limiting illness or injury. Hospice is unique in that it uses a team-oriented approach to provide quality medical care and pain management, as well as emotional and spiritual support specific to each patient.”

Unlike traditional health care, where the goal is to cure a patient of an illness or disease, hospice care is dedicated to managing a patient’s pain and symptoms and helping them preserve their best quality of life until the end.

Hospice teams are expert at helping to reduce anxiety in patients who have breathing difficulties or extended nausea related to their disease. Maintaining dignity is also an important part of hospice.

Another benefit of hospice is assisting family and friends through this difficult transition. Loved ones can receive support not only during the patient’s illness but also after their passing. Programs like support groups and individual bereavement counseling are standard hospice services.

How Is Hospice Care Paid For?

If the patient is a senior who receives Medicare or has a Medicare Advantage plan, those programs will generally cover hospice services. Eligibility is based on the stage of the older adult’s disease and their prognosis. The senior’s primary care physician or specialist will be called upon to help make that determination.

The Medicare hospice benefit will cover at least six months of care. That time may be extended if the patient continues to meet the criteria. Most private insurers also have hospice guidelines similar to Medicare’s.

Hospice at The Wesley Community

At The Wesley Community, we offer a full continuum of care for residents. As part of our commitment to ensuring each resident lives their best quality of life, we are pleased to partner with local hospice organizations in the Saratoga Springs area. If you have any questions or need more information on hospice care and assisted living, please call us at 518-587-3600. We’ll be happy to help!