Colorado Hospice Care

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Colorado Hospice Care: How to pay for Hospice Care, Licensing and Regulations, and Questions to ask

Generally, Colorado’s seniors are healthy and active later into life. When the time comes for care, you will be in good hands. In Colorado, hospice is a concept of care, not a specific place of care. Hospice care is for those who have been living with a terminal illness or only recently received a serious diagnosis of six months or less life expectancy. This specific type of care is there to ease the burden of 24-hour care. It provides a respectful, comfortable care setting for your loved one’s final months and weeks or days. It is an option to consider and can be especially helpful for families, or those seniors without family to provide end-of-life care.

How hospice works in Colorado

Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness. Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations.

Signs it may be time to look into hospice care

  • Your loved one has made multiple trips to the emergency room. 
  • The condition continues to progress, affecting quality of life. 
  • The individual has been admitted to the hospital several times in the last year with the same or worsening symptoms. 
  • Does loved one wish to remain at home, rather than spend more time in the hospital. 
  • Your loved one has decided to stop receiving treatment.

What is Palliative care and respite care and how are they different from hospice?

Let’s discuss what makes them different:

Palliative Care

Palliative care refers to any care that alleviates symptoms, whether there is hope of a cure by other means or not. Both palliative care and hospice care are intended to provide comfort for the individual and family. This care focuses on easing pain and discomfort to help people have the highest possible quality of life. It is appropriate at any stage of life, not just end of life. 

Respite care

Taking care of a loved one who is terminally ill can be exhausting and emotionally draining for family members, and especially if family members are the caregivers. Respite care provides relief for those looking after the terminally ill individual. They may be checked into temporary hospice and provide a much needed break for family caregivers.

Hospice 

Hospice care is an option for people who have a life expectancy of six months or less. In place of ongoing curative measures, hospice involves palliative care (pain and symptom relief), enabling the individual to live their final days with purpose, grace, dignity, and support from family and staff. The purpose is for the individual to spend their final days in a comfortable, familiar environment, with their loved ones enabling them to focus their attention with help of staff. Some hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities offer hospice care on-site – however, it is most often provided in the person’s home. 

Laws and regulations for hospice care in Colorado

Colorado requires agencies have Medicare/Medicaid certification. Medicare’s benefit regulations incorporate the following ideals:

  • Must be licensed in the state they operate. 
  • The person receiving care and their family know of their terminal condition. 
  • Additional medical treatment and intervention only on a supportive basis. 
  • Pain control should be available to the person as needed.  
  • Trained volunteers should provide additional support as required.

State regulations

Regulations address requirements for hospices contracting with state Medicaid programs and the rules pertaining to patients. Visit https://www.hospicealliance.org/ to see each states codes and how they apply to care regulations.

How to pay for Hospice Care?

Medicare, private health insurance, and Medicaid (in 43 states) covers hospice care for patients who meet eligibility criteria.

Private insurance and veterans’ benefits may also cover hospice care under certain conditions. In addition, some hospice programs offer healthcare services on a sliding fee scale basis for patients with limited income and resources. To get help with your Medicare questions call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit www.medicare.gov. Additional information about how to pay for hospice care can be found at the Public Policy Institute of the AARP.

Who Pays for Palliative Care?

Medicare, Medicaid, many insurers, and healthcare plans will cover the medical portions—physician and nurse services—of palliative care.

Veterans may be eligible for palliative care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Check with your doctor and healthcare plan to see what insurance will cover in your particular situation. Unlike the comprehensive hospice benefit, there is no comprehensive palliative care benefit.

Questions and inquiries

Is Hospice only for those who have cancer? 

No. It is for anyone with a terminal illness who has been given a prognosis by their doctor of six months or less.  

Do only elderly people use these services.  

It is for all age groups during the final stages of their life. The intention is to allow people to enjoy the closeness of family and a comfortable environment in the last stages of their life.  

Do people on hospice die immediately? 

This care does not hasten death. Though, studies have shown people often live longer than those with the same or similar illnesses who do not choose hospice. 

Are all hospices the same? 

The United States offers thousands of hospices. Most engage in Medicare, which requires certain services for the person in care. So, there is a standard operating procedure.  

How can I afford Hospice care? Is it expensive. 

Hospice care is covered by Medicare Part A, and your personal insurance. 

Is Hospice is only provided in the individual’s home? 

NO, Care is provided wherever the person is, which could be a long-term care facility or a hospital. Being take care of at home is always an option. 

https://cdphe.colorado.gov/ The department pursues its mission through broad-based health and environmental protection programs and activities.

Area Agency on Aging  Boulder County offers services to adults 60 and over and their adult caregivers. They also provide assistance to Medicare beneficiaries and residents of any age who live in a long-term care facility. Provides information, referral, and options counseling to anyone 18 or older with a disability as well as to older adults through the Aging and Disability Resource for Colorado program. Legal assistance is offered via one of our contractors, not directly.

Denver Regional Council of Governments Provides information and assistance for people 60 and older or 18-plus with a disability, their families, and service providers. Referrals to local resources and services.

Larimer County Office on Aging The Larimer County Office on Aging LCOA provides Information and Referral through the ADRC, Title III services including In Home Services Voucher, Chore Voucher, Respite Voucher, application assistance and options counseling. Additional services include grant management and long term care ombudsman program community education and key member of the Partnership for Age Friendly Communities in Larimer County.

Park County Department of Human Services Adult Protection Services (APS) are provided to at-risk adults age 18 and older who, due to age or disability, are unable to protect themselves and have no one to advocate on their behalf. The Adult Protection program responds to reports of Abuse (physical or sexual), Neglect (caregiver or self), and Financial Exploitation.

Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments PPACG serves as the Area Agency on Aging for Colorado Springs and provides programs and services for older adults and their caregivers. A person must be 60 years of age or older to be eligible for a service provided by the Older Americans Act (OAA).

Disability Law Colorado offers legal representation, information and referrals to people with disabilities, older people, and their families.

Eldercare Locator This is a great resource to search for specific care in specific counties and cities. This database is a nationwide resource that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources. Connect with services such as meals, home care or transportation, or a caregiver education or respite from caregiving responsibilities. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

Medicare provides a search feature to find & compare providers near you, most senior housing and care providers are included on CareAvailability.com. Find & compare plans in your area. Determine if you qualify for premium savings

Medicaid offers information on how to apply for Medicaid, eligibility criteria, links to local state offices, and additional resources

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Whether you are living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone with the disease, information and resources are available.

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Written by The Care Availability Team
Experts in the senior care & retirement living industries

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