The Role of Hospice in Assisted Living

  • August 19, 2019

If a senior loved one who resides in an assisted living community has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, family members might be concerned they will have to move. For an older adult, the companionship, familiarity, and security of their assisted living apartment is important. Their friends live there, and they have relationships with staff members they know and trust.

It’s easy to understand why a senior wouldn’t want to relocate during this chapter in life if they decide to elect hospice care. Fortunately, families aren’t forced to choose between an assisted living community and hospice care. Hospice can provide services in whatever setting a patient calls home.

A senior isn’t required to transfer to an inpatient hospice center or a nursing home, nor are they required to live in a private residence. According to Argentum, an association of senior living providers, almost one-third of older adults living in a senior living community receive hospice care in their private apartment or suite.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice is a type of care for people with a life-limiting illness. 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 curative health care, the goal of hospice care is to help manage a patient’s pain and symptoms to allow them to live their last days pain-free and with dignity. For example, difficulty breathing and extended nausea are two common symptoms that hospice can help manage.

Another benefit of hospice is to provide support to family members. This is done through a variety of programs, including support groups and bereavement services.

Who Pays for Hospice?

If a senior meets the criteria, hospice services will be covered by Medicare and most private insurance. Eligibility is based on the senior’s disease and what stage of the disease they are currently in. The older adult’s primary care physician will be able to help make that determination.

For older adults on Medicare, the hospice benefit can extend to at least six months of care. Many private insurance companies follow guidelines similar to Medicare.

Hospice Care at Five Star Senior Living

If you’ve ever visited a Five Star Senior Living community, you likely encountered team members from a local hospice. They are in our communities on a regular basis visiting their patients and providing personal care, symptom management support, or music therapy. You might even run into a pet therapy dog making the rounds.

Talk with the Executive Director or Resident Services Director at your senior loved one’s community to learn more about our local hospice partners.
 


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