The Benefits of Hospice Care

Senior Law News | Mar 13, 2023 | Emily A. Martin

Navigating end-of-life decisions and care needs is extremely difficult for most families. While it is never pleasant to deal with these issues, there are resources available to lessen the burden. One of those resources is hospice care.

Hospice care is a type of health care focuses on pain management for patients nearing the end of their lives as well as support for their families. Although this type of care is normally provided in the home, it can also take place in an assisted living facility or nursing home, making it a versatile form of care from which many different types of people can benefit.

One mistake that many people make is assuming that hospice is only for patients for whom death is imminent. Although doctors typically recommend hospice for people who they determine have an estimated six months or less to live, hospice is not a death sentence. Some people benefit from hospice for less than six months, while others may live quite a bit longer. The best time to consider hospice is when the goal of treatment has shifted from curing an illness to providing comfort. It is always best to contact hospice early so you can understand your options. Many people wait until it is too late for their loved one to receive all of the assistance that hospice has to offer.

So what does hospice provide? Hospice teams are experts in palliative (comfort) care. Hospice teams can consist of a physician, a nurse, clergy, social workers, and hospice aides. Pharmacists, dieticians, and therapists may also be on a hospice team. Hospice teams will not provide treatment that will hasten or prolong death, but rather they focus on pain management and bereavement support for the patient and their family.

Another reason to consider hospice is that Medicare Part A has a Medicare Hospice Benefit that will cover the costs of the care, medication, equipment, and supplies related to the terminal diagnosis. This is much different from nursing home care, assisted living, or other type of in-home care, which are not covered by Medicare under most circumstances. Receiving hospice care can lessen the financial burden that many patients and families often face when someone has a terminal illness.

In order to be eligible for hospice care covered by Medicare Part A, you must be otherwise eligible for Medicare Part A. Your doctor must certify that you have a life-limiting illness and that death could be expected in six months or less. Additionally, you must receive care from a Medicare-certified hospice program.

If you or a loved one are facing a terminal diagnosis, it may be time to consider hospice care. It is never too early to talk to your doctor and other healthcare providers to determine whether hospice is appropriate for you and your family.

Pets Corner: Ask Jolene

Hook Law: Jolene, what can you tell us about the cat who was found after six days in a Las Vegas hotel room?

Jolene: This is an interesting story. A woman staying in a Las Vegas hotel room recently noticed that some strange things were going on in her hotel room. There was urine in the shower and a bottle of vitamin oil spilled all over the floor. The woman initially blamed her poor husband, who denied doing anything. It wasn’t until she noticed strange animal noises at 4am that she realized that a cat was in their hotel room. The scared animal had been living in the room for six days, drinking toilet water for sustenance. The cat, named Tiger, belonged to the previous guests, who had reported him missing to hotel staff six days earlier. He has since been reunited with his family.

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Emily A. Martin

Attorney, Shareholder, Esq.
757-399-7506 | 252-722-2890
[email protected]

Emily A. Martin is a Shareholder of Hook Law practicing in the areas of elder law, estate and trust administration, estate planning, asset protection planning, litigation and dispute resolution, guardianship and conservatorship, long-term care planning, special needs planning and financial planning. To date, Ms. Martin has overseen over 100 guardianship and conservatorship matters. In addition to being admitted to the Virginia State Bar and North Carolina State Bar, she is licensed to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Martin is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and Regent University School of Law. Prior to joining the firm in 2018, Emily worked as an estate planning and elder law attorney in Virginia Beach for several years.

Practice Areas

  • Elder Law
  • Estate & Trust Administration
  • Estate Planning
  • Asset Protection Planning
  • Guardianship & Conservatorship
  • Long-Term Care Planning
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Financial Planning
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