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What is the NursingHomeDatabase Hospice Care Database?
The NursingHomeDatabase Hospice Care database provides detailed information about nealy 6,000 hospice care providers in the United States. The database is based primarily on data provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid ("CMS"). The data includes detailed performance data, patient survey results, and information about the service area that each hospice care provider serves.
You can find hospice care providers either by partial or full company name and/or by ZIP Code. Instead of using city and state for the search, we have focused on ZIP Code. Each provider serves a unique geographic area, so it is important to see whether a specific ZIP code is covered.
What is Hospice Care? What does Hospice Care Provide?
Hospice care is a special kind of care that focuses on the quality of life for people who are experiencing an advanced, life-limiting illness and their caregivers. Hospice care provides compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible.
The hospice philosophy accepts death as the final stage of life: it affirms life, but does not try to hasten or postpone death. Hospice care treats the person and symptoms of the disease, rather than treating the disease itself. A team of professionals work together to manage symptoms so that a person’s last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice care is also family-centered – it includes the patient and the family in making decisions.
It is important to understand that hospice care is very different from other parts of the healthcare system. The goal with hospice care is not recovery but comfort. So, the medical professionals involved with this care are not going to be working to "fix" things. Equally important, just because a patient enters hospice care does not mean that they cannot recover or that they will die right away. Many hospice patients recover and exit hospice and many can remain on hospice care for more than a year.
All hospice providers must offer certain services. But they tend to have different approaches to service, staffing patterns, and types of support services offered.
- Palliative care and symptom control: Palliative care may also be called supportive care, symptom management, or comfort care. It can be given separately from hospice care (for example, while still in active cancer treatment), but It's often a part of hospice care if cancer is no longer being treated because it has worsened. Palliative care does not treat the cancer itself. Instead, it's used to prevent or treat symptoms and side effects as early as possible.As part of hospice care, palliative care looks at how the cancer experience is affecting the whole person and help to relieve symptoms, pain, and stress. It gives patients options and allows them and their caregivers to take part in planning their care. It’s about assuring that all their care needs are addressed. The specialized professionals who are part of the palliative care team can help look for and manage mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual issues that may come up. The main goal of including palliative care into hospice services is to help patients be comfortable while allowing them to enjoy the last stage of life. This means that discomfort, pain, nausea, and other side effects are managed to make sure that you feel as good as possible, yet are alert enough to enjoy the people around you and make important decisions.
- Home care and inpatient hospice care: Although most hospice care is centered in the home, there might be times when you need to be in a hospital, extended-care facility, or an inpatient hospice center. Your home hospice team can arrange for inpatient care and will stay involved in your care and with your family. You can go back to in-home care when you and your family are ready.
- Spiritual care: Since people differ in their spiritual needs and religious beliefs, spiritual care is set up to meet your specific needs. It might include helping you look at what death means to you, helping you say good-bye, or helping with a certain religious ceremony or ritual.
- Family meetings: Regularly scheduled meetings, often led by the hospice nurse or social worker, keep family members informed about your condition and what to expect. These meetings also give everyone a chance to share feelings, talk about what’s happening and what’s needed, and learn about death and the process of dying. Family members can get great support and stress relief through these meetings. Daily updates may also be given informally as the nurse or nursing assistant talks with you and your caregivers during routine visits.
- Coordination of care: The hospice team coordinates and supervises all care 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. This team is responsible for making sure that all involved services share information. This may include the inpatient facility, the doctor, and other community professionals, such as pharmacists, clergy, and funeral directors. You and your caregivers are encouraged to contact your hospice team if you’re having a problem, any time of the day or night. There’s always someone on call to help you with whatever may arise. Hospice care assures you and your family that you are not alone and can get help at any time.
- Respite care: For patients being cared for at home, some hospice services offer respite care to allow friends and family some time away from caregiving. Respite care can be given in up to 5-day periods of time, during which the person with cancer is cared for either in the hospice facility or in beds that are set aside in nursing homes or hospitals. Families can plan a mini-vacation, go to special events, or simply get much-needed rest at home while you’re cared for in an inpatient setting.
- Bereavement care: Bereavement is the period of mourning after a loss. The hospice care team works with surviving loved ones to help them through the grieving process. A trained volunteer, clergy member, or professional counselor provides support to survivors through visits, phone calls, and/or other contact, as well as through support groups. The hospice team can refer family members and caregiving friends to other medical or professional care if needed. Bereavement services are often provided for about a year after the patient’s death.
Does Medicare Pay for Hospice Care?
Medicare covers hospice costs once a medical doctor certifies that you have an illness that makes it unlikely you will live longer than 6 months.
To get this coverage, you must sign a statement that confirms you want palliative care, you don’t intend to continue seeking treatments to cure the illness you choose hospice care instead of other Medicare-approved services to treat your illness.
If you (or a loved one) are receiving hospice care, that means your doctor has certified that your life expectancy is 6 months or less. However, some people defy expectations. At the end of 6 months, Medicare will keep paying for hospice care if you need it. The hospice medical director or your doctor will need to meet with you in person and re-certify that your life expectancy is still not longer than 6 months. Medicare will pay for two 90-day benefit periods. After that, you can re-certify for an unlimited number of 60-day benefit periods. During any benefit period, if you want to change your hospice provider, you have the right to do so.
While Medicare covers most items and services you’ll need during hospice, there are a few things it won’t cover, including:
- Any treatments to cure the terminal illness. This includes both treatments and prescription medications that are intended to cure you. If you decide you want treatments to cure your illness, you can stop hospice care and pursue those treatments.
- Services from a hospice provider that were not arranged by your hospice care team. Any care you receive has to be provided by the hospice provider that you and your team chose. Even if you are receiving the same services, Medicare will not cover the cost if the provider isn’t the one you and your hospice team named. You can still visit your regular doctor or another healthcare professional if you selected them to supervise your hospice care.
- Room and board expenses. If you are receiving hospice care at home, in a nursing home, or in an inpatient hospice facility, Medicare won’t cover the cost of room and board.
- Care at an outpatient hospital facility. Medicare won’t pay for ambulance transportation to the hospital or for any services you receive in an outpatient hospital setting, such as the emergency room, unless it is not related to your terminal illness or unless it has been arranged by your hospice team.