Hospice is a program or facility that provides care and attends to the emotional, spiritual, social, and financial needs of terminally ill patients at a facility or at a patient’s home. Hospice and palliative care is a system of family-centered care designed to assist the terminally ill person to be comfortable and to maintain quality of life through the phases of dying. Hospice care is multidisciplinary and includes home visits, professional health care available on call, teaching and emotional support of the family, and physical care of the client. Some hospice programs provide care in a center, as well as in the home or in a nursing home.
Usually, a hospice patient is expected to live 6 months or less. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient’s last days by offering comfort and dignity.
Hospice care also involves assistance for patients’ families to help them cope with what is happening. Hospice also offers a variety of bereavement and counseling services to families before and after a patient’s death.
Following are certain trends taking place in hospice to watch for, including:
- Now that the first generation of Baby Boomers is approaching the end of life, their needs and wants are very different than the previous generation. As such, we’ll see an increasing demand for support for living – and dying – in place, as well as experimental and alternative therapies, spirituality, and new kinds of communities as this group ages.
- Technology, particularly telemedicine, will play an ever-increasing role in making it possible for people who wish to die at home. Telemedicine will enable doctors and other healthcare workers to offer hospice-like end of life care to those out of the reach of actual hospices.
- Increased hospice regulation and compliance will be the new normal. Top compliance risks hospices need to pay attention include: technical compliance with Hospice Compare and other Medicare reporting requirements; live discharges, whose rates continue to rise, generating greater government scrutiny; documentation of terminal illness; and un-bundling of services such as Medicare Part D prescription claims that should have been covered by the hospice.
- Changing demographics will mean a rise in the numbers of isolated elderly people who’ll need more care, particularly at the end of life. Boomers had fewer children than their parents, and our population is far more mobile than previous generations, who tended to stay closer to home as they raised their own families. That means we’ve got a generation of people who simply won’t have the access to family care that is needed at the end of life. Innovative ideas such as group living at the end of life, telemedicine, and increased pre-hospice care – are areas to pay close attention to.
It’s important for hospice organizations to carry appropriate insurance protection, so that they can continue to keep their focus on the important services they provide to patients and their families. National wholesaler Highland Risk Services works exclusively with agents in providing hospice programs and facilities with the right insurance solution. This includes general liability, professional liability, sexual abuse, cyber, employment practices liability, commercial auto, commercial umbrella, workers compensation, and other key coverages. We’ll work with you – our agency partners – to not only secure the product lines needed to address your insured’s exposures but also to provide risk management solutions to help mitigate and minimize losses.
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