Medicare Launches Hospice Compare Website

Patients looking for hospice care can now get help from Medicare’s website. The agency’s new Hospice Compare site allows patients to evaluate hospice providers according to several criteria. The site is a good start, but there is room for improvement, experts say. Medicare’s comprehensive hospice benefit covers any care that is reasonable and necessary for easing the course of a terminal illness. Medicare launched the hospice compare website to improve transparency and help families find the right hospice provider. The website provides information on how hospices deal with treatment preferences, address a patient’s beliefs and values, screen and assess for pain Continue Reading

JAMA study says few nursing home residents receive palliative care

A recent study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal demonstrated that few nursing home residents receive palliative care. Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life for seriously ill patients by relieving their symptoms and easing their stress which may be provided in conjunction with other medical treatment. The study found the need for better communication between nursing homes and residents and residents’ families regarding hospice and palliative care services their facilities offer. Follow our link to read the complete article Continue Reading

Hospitals Now Must Provide Notice About Observation Status

All hospitals must now give Medicare recipients notice when they are in the hospital under observation status. The notice requirement is part of a law enacted in 2015 but that just took effect. Signed by President Obama in August 2015, the law was intended to prevent surprises after a Medicare beneficiary spends days in a hospital under “observation” and is then admitted to a nursing home. This is important because Medicare covers nursing home stays entirely for the first 20 days, but only if the patient was first admitted to a hospital as an inpatient for at least three days. Continue Reading

What is palliative care? How can it help you?

The New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper offers a series of articles about palliative care. Read the article below to learn more about palliative care and how it can help you and your loved ones. Palliative care: ‘Bringing medicine back to where it’s supposed to be’ By GRETCHEN M. GROSKY | New Hampshire Union Leader It’s 8 a.m. and a group of doctors, nurses, social workers and spiritual counselors gathers around a conference table in a building at Concord Hospital. The team of palliative care providers brings out a Himalayan prayer bowl and for more than an hour, takes turns speaking Continue Reading

Palliative Care and Quality Of Death

We talk a lot about quality of life in our daily lives, but what about quality of death?  In many instances, a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness that results in an end of life pain management regimen and hospice care.  According to the Economist Intelligence Unit cited in the article below, the U.S. ranks 9th in the global Quality of Death Index, which bases its statistics on a country’s availability and quality of palliative care, the existence of adequate hospice programs, and strong community involvement on the issue. As the article illustrates, Uganda became one of the Continue Reading