Are you looking to learn more about hospice care in Arizona? Wondering exactly what “hospice care” means or how your family may pay for it? Whatever the case, your first step should be learning more about the topic.

What is Hospice Care?

Contrary to popular belief, hospice is not a place but a philosophy of care.  The care supplies psychological, medical, and spiritual support to people at the end of their life. A team of medical professionals (and sometimes volunteers) supply hospice to give people who are dying a sense of dignity and peace.

The team might include a chaplain, home health aide, social worker, or counselor in addition to medical staff. Together, the group will work to meet the patient’s needs. It’s not only for the ill person but also their family members and can include help with shopping and housekeeping.

Hospice can help the patient’s loved ones deal with the difficult feelings that come up due to the illness. It may also provide bereavement and grief counseling for those who choose to pursue it after their loved one passes.

When Should You Enter Hospice Care?

You may enter a hospice program once you find out you have a terminal illness or that you’re expected to pass on within 6 months. You might remain in hospice for longer than that, and hospice isn’t always a permanent solution.

Depending on your situation, you might make a spontaneous recovery, change your mind, start other treatments, or decide to stop hospice care.

What to Consider with Hospice Care in Arizona

Hospice care is there to help the patient remain as alert and pain-free as possible during the end of their life. Here are some things to keep in mind while seeking hospice care in Arizona:

Insurance: Your insurance company might only pay for hospice care with a specific company, so make sure you ask about this. If you have Medicare, it includes hospice coverage.

Referrals: There are tons of hospice options out there and they vary widely in quality, just like any other medical service. The best way to find good hospice care in Arizona is to ask people you trust, such as friends or family, for referrals. You may also ask your doctor for their suggestions.

Inpatient vs. at home: Hospice care may be provided in the home or at inpatient hospice facilities. Before you decide on hospice care for your family member, think carefully about which option fits their needs best.

What Happens in Hospice?

Once your loved one enters hospice, their designated team will devise a special plan for the family. The plan will focus on lessening symptoms and enhancing the patient’s comfort. Your team will check in on them on a regular basis and they’ll likely have a team member on call at all hours.

In hospice, nurses and doctors will provide medical care, while aides will help with actions such as dressing, bathing, and more.

What’s the Difference between Home Health and Hospice?

Both home health and hospice care can take place at the patient’s home. But home health care focuses on rehabilitating the patient and improving their condition.
Hospice care, on the other hand, focuses on making the remainder of the patient’s life as comfortable as possible after a terminal diagnosis.

What’s the Difference between Hospice and Palliative Medicine?

Palliative care provides treatment for stress, discomfort, and anxiety related to life-threatening illnesses. This form of treatment provides clarity for patients and helps them identify their goals related to medical care.

While palliative care can start as soon as the time of diagnosis, hospice care begins once the treatment of the illness has ceased and it’s clear that the patient won’t survive it. In Arizona, both palliative care and hospice options are widely available.

What is Hospice Respite Care?

Temporary hospice care is another option. When a loved one is suffering from a terminal illness, their family member will often care for them. As a caregiver, you may assist your loved one with remembering medications, preparing meals, or providing emotional and physical support.
This can get exhausting, leading the caregiver to need a break. With respite care, the ill family member is temporarily checked into a hospital or inpatient facility, giving the caregiver some much-needed rest.

Applying for Social Security

If you or your family member are receiving hospice care, you might have some serious financial concerns on your mind. Fortunately, you’ll likely qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration and receive support for your family through this hard time.

Due to the severity of life-threatening illnesses, hospice patients are almost always approved for benefits through the SSA.

Disability Benefit Application

To apply for SSA benefits in Arizona, you’ll need to review a form called the Adult Disability Checklist. You’ll fill out the Disability Benefit Application provided by the SSA, providing information about your medical condition, history, and employment. This information will help the Social Security Administration determine what assistance you’re eligible for.

As soon as you’ve completed the application, the SSA will process the information and send you their decision via mail. You might also choose to work with an attorney during your application process, to improve your odds of getting approved.

The Arizona Long-Term Care System

If you need some help paying for hospice care, you might want to consider the Arizona Long-Term Care System. ATCS is part of the state Medicaid program and covers long-term medical care for eligible individuals. Along with assisting people with nursing home costs, ALTCS may help with in-home services, too.

Figuring out the details of hospice care can be overwhelming. If you have questions about long-term health care or related legal questions, contact one of our Elder Law attorneys.

Call the JacksonWhite ALTCS team at (480)467-4337 to discuss your case today.

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