Hospice Care and Its Benefits
Rather than focus on curing illness, hospice care focuses on providing comfort for the end of their visitors’ lives. This is an important service as it puts an imperative on the quality of life. If you have a loved one with a terminal illness, hospice can be a great help over their last several days. This service can include nursing care, social worker services Hospice Care in Los Angeles, , physician evaluations, medications, medical equipment and supplies, and physical and occupational therapies. As you can see, even though hospice patients are classified as terminally ill, a semblance of continuing routine is maintained, if wished. Many hospice providers also offer bereavement services for families as well.
As of January 2010, there were over 3,600 hospice services in the United States. About 570 of these operated as in home care providers. Consider that there were only about 300 services in the U.S. in the early 1980s and you can see how quickly this industry has increased in popularity and demand.
All but about 200 of these total services across the country are Medicare based. Medicare has a pretty thorough hospice provision as long as the patient continues to be classified as terminally ill. While it does require periodical recertification of the patient, Medicare will generally cover the majority of hospice bills with certain limitations. About 2.8 percent of Medicare’s $2.5 trillion annual spending in 2009 went toward hospice care. Although a small percentage, this remains a staggering number of dollars spent and reveals just how important such care is, both from a governmental standpoint and an individual view. Hospice care provides comfort when there is little to be found.
Like the rest of the healthcare industry, hospice is a growing business. While many other types of customer services are stagnating in the poor economy, hospice services are still growing in their numbers. Hospice services provide jobs for physicians, nurses, aides, social workers, chaplains, and therapists, making them a unique center for employment. There will always be a need and demand for hospice services, so expect to see this industry continue to grow over the next several years. Hospice services are popular, in part, because they have a lower per day cost than a typical hospital or skilled nursing home. The care provided is not as medically intense and instead focuses on comfort. The average savings per patient in hospice over a patient in a hospital are over $2,300. With patients with terminal cancer, the savings can go as high as $7,000. While there is no guarantee that hospice services will not increase their prices, for struggling families, hospice provides a monetary relief as well as a bereavement service. The more that people become educated about the benefits of hospice, the more it will grow.