Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Center


Items filtered by date: August 2019

Medicare and Hospice

Published in Blog

Caring for someone at the very end of their life can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally. The goal of hospice care is to make that time easier, for both the patient and their family. The modern hospice movement was created in the late 1960s. It began to gain general acceptance in the late 1970s, and in 1986, it was made a benefit of Medicare.

Who is eligible for Medicare coverage of hospice?

There are two requirements for hospice eligibility:
1. the patient must be entitled to Medicare Part A, and
2. they must be certified by their doctor to have a life expectancy of six months or less, given the normal course of their illness.

That does not mean, however, that the hospice benefit ends after six months. Once the six-month period is over, the patient is eligible for additional hospice care. The extended benefit lasts 60 days, and is renewed automatically, as long as the prognosis remains 6 months or less. That means that people can remain in hospice for years, if they still have a life expectancy of six months or less. Others might leave hospice if they go into remission, with the ability to reenter it if their prognosis ever changes.

What does the Medicare hospice benefit cover?

Medicare covers all care offered by a Medicare-approved provider that is reasonable and necessary to make the patient more comfortable. This care includes:

  • Medical services provided by doctors and nurse practitioners
  • Nursing care
  • Social work services
  • Medication for management of symptoms and pain
  • Medical supplies
  • Short-term inpatient and respite care
  • Home health aide services
  • Psychological counseling
  • Spiritual counseling
  • Bereavement counseling

Two important benefits are:

  1. Therapies, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, which are provided for comfort or symptom relief
  2. Coverage of all medication related to the illness, for no more than a $5 co-pay. Since pain medication is often extremely expensive, this benefit alone can remove a tremendous amount of stress from the family.

Caring for a loved one at the end of their life is painful enough; hospice exists to make it lessen that pain for everyone.

The compassionate, personalized approach of the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers has established our long-standing and unparalleled reputation for excellence. But perhaps nowhere is this compassion more on display than in our hospice care.

Hospice is part of our full continuum of care, which also includes exceptional short-term rehabilitation, sub-acute care, long-term nursing, a range of specialty programs and complex clinical services, and temporary respite care. Our compassionate, personalized approach has established our long-standing and unparalleled reputation for excellence.

Our 25 years of excellence have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to discuss hospice or other types of care. You and your loved one deserve the most sensitive care, especially at the most sensitive times.

When you or your loved one first sees a doctor, you will typically be asked for a family medical history. This is no stroll down Memory Lane: a family medical history contains a wealth of information that can help guide clinicians in caring for their patient.

Why are family medical histories important?

Many diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, blood clots, arthritis, and certain types of cancer, “run in families.” Diseases and chronic conditions can also be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and families share both.

By informing medical practitioners of health conditions that affected any of your relatives, you enable them to recommend ways to reduce your own risk of the condition. It also alerts them to keep an eye out for symptoms of specific problems, should they begin to appear.

What information is included in a family medical history?

In order to give the fullest, most helpful medical history, it is important to know:

  • If any of your blood relatives, including siblings, parents, grandparents, and aunts or uncles have or had chronic conditions, such as diabetes, or serious illnesses, such as cancer or stroke
  • The age of onset of any problems, if applicable
  • The age and cause of death, if appropriate

How can I get all the information required for my family medical history?

Most people don’t have all the pertinent health information about their families at their fingertips, so it’s important to do research, particularly if you suspect there is a family history of medical problems. This research might be a simple as asking family members —especially older family members, who are usually treasure troves of family history — or it might require researching family medical records and death certificates.

How do I store my family medical history in the most useful form?

The Surgeon General has released a web-based tool, My Family Health Portrait, that helps you collect and store family history. One of the benefits of this tool is that it allows you to send your partially completed medical history to other family members, who can fill in some of the blanks. The information is not shared with anyone other than the people you choose.

You can access this tool here.

Whether a condition that runs in your family is caused by nature or nurture, you share much in common with your family, and it’s in everyone’s interest to have as complete a family medical history as possible. Taking the time to gather accurate information is an important part of keeping yourself, and your loved ones, healthy.

At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we offer the very best of care in the most appropriate and patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.

Contact us by clicking here to see which of our three facilities will best meet your needs or the needs of your loved one.

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