Hospice Care for CJD Patients

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What is hospice care?

Hospice care provides palliative care to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for people who are suspected to live for less than six months. People with CJD often qualify for hospice due to the rapid disease course. Like palliative care, hospice care can be provided at home, an assisted living facility, a nursing facility or a hospital.

Choosing a hospice care provider

Finding the right provider does not have to be difficult. As soon as CJD is diagnosed, you or your medical team should initiate a hospice information/referral call or visit. As a first step, create a written assessment of your situation (see Planning Care for Someone with CJD) to help you determine what services you will need. Your medical team and family can help complete this assessment. Once you have an idea of what you will need, ask your medical team for specific recommendations or use the directories in the Resources section below to find providers in your area.

Next, the local hospice workers will meet with the doctor, patient and family to discuss available services and expectations and to develop a plan of care designed specifically for your loved one tailored to the family needs.

You may want to ask questions about insurance plans and payment requirements.

  • Ask what expectations the hospice will have from the patient and the patient's support system.
  • Ask what kind of support and training program the hospice has for caregivers.
  • Ask about bereavement support programs.

Hospice care is a covered benefit under Medicare for patients with a prognosis of six months or less. Medicaid covers hospice services in most states. Many private health insurance policies and HMOs offer hospice coverage and benefits. Hospice services are also covered under TRICARE, the Department of Defense's health care program for members of the uniformed services, their families and survivors. Frequently, hospice expenses are less than conventional care expenses during the last six months of life.

Resources

March 18, 2014