Hospice and Respite Care
This article provides information on hospice care, respite care, and Medicare coverage for these services. Additional information is available in the link at the bottom of this page. This information was provided from Medicare.gov.
Hospice care is usually given in your home but may also be covered in a hospice inpatient facility. Depending on your terminal illness and related conditions, the plan of care your hospice team creates can include any or all of these services:
- Doctor services
- Nursing care
- Medical equipment (like wheelchairs or walkers)
- Medical supplies (like bandages and catheters)
- Prescription drugs for symptom control or pain relief
- Hospice aide and homemaker services
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Speech-language pathology services
- Social work services
- Dietary counseling
- Grief and loss counseling for you and your family
- Short-term inpatient care (for pain and symptom management)
- Short-term respite care
Any other Medicare-covered services needed to manage your pain and other symptoms related to your terminal illness and related conditions, as recommended by your hospice team
When you choose hospice care, you've decided that you no longer want care to cure your terminal illness and/or your doctor has determined that efforts to cure your illness aren't working.
What is respite care?
Respite care provides short-term relief for primary caregivers. It can be arranged for just an afternoon or for several days or weeks. Care can be provided at home, in a healthcare facility, or at an adult day center (definition from National Institute on Aging). See also Take Time Texas.
Medicare won’t cover any of these once your hospice benefit starts:
- Treatment intended to cure your terminal illness and/or related conditions. Talk with your doctor if you're thinking about getting treatment to cure your illness. As a hospice patient, you always have the right to stop hospice care at any time.
- Prescription drugs to cure your illness (rather than for symptom control or pain relief).
- Care from any hospice provider that wasn't set up by the hospice medical team. You must get hospice care from the hospice provider you chose. All care that you get for your terminal illness must be given by or arranged by the hospice team. You can't get the same type of hospice care from a different hospice, unless you change your hospice provider. However, you can still see your regular doctor or nurse practitioner if you've chosen him or her to be the attending medical professional who helps supervise your hospice care.
- Room and board. Medicare doesn't cover room and board if you get hospice care in your home or if you live in a nursing home or a hospice inpatient facility. If the hospice team determines that you need short-term inpatient or respite care services that they arrange, Medicare will cover your stay in the facility. You may have to pay a small copayment for the respite stay.
- Care you get as a hospital outpatient (like in an emergency room), care you get as a hospital inpatient, or ambulance transportation, unless it’s either arranged by your hospice team or is unrelated to your terminal illness and related conditions.
Contact your hospice team before you get any of these services or you might have to pay the entire cost.