There is a negative connotation surrounding hospice care. Many believe that signing up for hospice care is the same as giving up. Perhaps this is why only half of Medicare recipients end up signing up for hospice care. According to a Forbes in an article titled “A New Way To Get Hospice Services Without Giving Up Aggressive Treatment”, hopefully progress is being made to increase enrollment rates.
A new pilot program has been launched by over 140 hospices in the United States. The program is limited to those “with advanced cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, and HIV/AIDS who are otherwise eligible for hospice.” It is designed to provide all of the regular hospice services such as social work, basic nursing and nutritional support in addition to more aggressive medical treatments such as chemotherapy. The plan is optional and patients can still opt for traditional hospice care. This plan hopefully will fill a huge gap in the health care system for the care of very sick patients who could benefit from many of the services hospice offers. If successful, care as personal as hospice care won’t be limited to the terminally ill.
Also, there’s more good news. Under the new pilot program, Medicare will start to pay for at-home care as it would for care in the hospital. Now those who wish to receive their medical care in their own home can receive benefits.
While hospitals have previously tried to provide similar services, it is the first of its kind that is covered by Medicare and allows for aggressive treatment at home. Some agencies will begin offering this service in January while others will wait until 2018. Check with your local Valley Area Agency on Aging to see if hospice in your community is a part of this program.