Understanding Hospice Care & Your Loved One’s Legal Rights

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We’ve all heard the saying that dying and paying taxes are the only two guaranteed things in life. Taxes and death have another thing in common – extensions. A CPA may instruct you on how to obtain an extension to pay certain taxes. Hospice care is to dying as a CPA is to taxes. Placing a loved one in hospice may extend a loved one’s life by weeks or months,which means you should prepare for it. In order to do so, it is important to determine how the law may affect your loved one’s eligibility, patient rights and duration of benefits for hospice care.

Hospice Care

Hospice means a public agency or private organization primarily engaged in providing hospice care. Hospice care includes palliative care and they are used in unison by an interdisciplinary group to provide physical comfort and emotional and spiritual support to terminally ill patients and their families. Hospice care is focused on caring for the patient and not curing them.

Hospice care can be in a standalone facility, a department within a nursing home, or in a hospital. However, it is not uncommon for the terminally ill to receive hospice care in their homes. Terminally ill patients are individuals that have a medical prognosis that his or her life expectancy is six months or less if the illness runs its normal course. Hospices provide specialized care for terminally ill patients, including, but not limited to, cancer patients, HIV/AIDs patients, and those suffering from severe functional limitations and advanced cognitive impairment (e.g., Alzheimer’s, dementia).

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