Home Health and Hospice

How to ensure your loved one receives quality care.

Home health is a broad term that describes a variety of services provided in the home. Generally speaking, home health is intermittent care provided by nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, medical social workers, and home health nursing assistants to persons confined to their homes, who are in need of short term acute health care.

Medicare funds Home Health care. Consequently, certain conditions of eligibility apply. For example, an individual must have a valid Medicare policy, be essentially homebound, have a doctor’s order for Home Health Services, require one or more of the above referenced services, and have a medical condition that will respond to treatment.

Hospice is another form of care designed to support an individual and their family during an advanced illness. Hospice care focuses on comfort and quality of life, rather than treatment or cure. Physicians, nurses and other caregivers oversee an individual’s care in the comfort of their home or assisted living facility. The goal of hospice care is to enable the individual to have an alert, pain-free life by managing symptoms and pain. Hospice promotes peace of mind to help individuals live better with their illness.

Hospice is funded by Medicare and other private insurance companies. Although many people think of hospice care in relation to terminal cancer, many other end-of-life health conditions may qualify a person for hospice.

The initial hospice benefit is for six months of coverage. However, this time can be extended in 60 day increments as long as the person continues to meet the medical criteria.

Your rights as a patient in these programs are important to understand. For example, as a Medicare beneficiary you have a right to choose your home health agency, have your property treated with respect, receive a copy of your plan of care, and to participate in decisions about your care. Each hospice patient has the right to: be treated with respect, receive quality end-of-life care, receive notice of his or her rights, receive information on advance directives including a living will and healthcare surrogate, voice concerns and not be discriminated against for doing so, receive pain management and symptom control, Be involved in developing his or her hospice plan of care, refuse care or treatment, choose his or her attending physician, and to be free from mistreatment, neglect, or verbal, mental, sexual, and physical abuse.

A symposium has been scheduled on April 20, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in the Needle Craft building at the Bingham County Fairgrounds. You are invited to come and listen to a panel of local experts discuss these matters that are so vital for seniors to understand. For more information on the symposium you may call Paul Johnston at 208-782-1441 or you may call our office.

Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all of Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.