After deciding that their loved one needs hospice care, many individuals feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to start the hospice admission process. Typically, they have questions around the timeliness for being admitted to hospice care, the requirements and the types of hospice care options. Understanding the hospice admission checklist can help you feel prepared and answer most of the questions you may have.
Research Before the Hospice Admission Process Begins
Before you reach out to a hospice care agency and start the admissions process, do some research. You’ll want to look at what hospice care provides so you feel comfortable and happy with the decision.
Typically, medical providers in your life (nurses, doctors, etc.) will be the ones to suggest it’s time for hospice care for your loved one. If this hasn’t happened yet, speak with a medical professional and verify that hospice care is the right next step.
The Hospice Admission Process
1. The Referral
Patients checking into hospice care must have a referral, either from a medical provider or a family member. If a family member is referring their loved one, note that the agency will need to ask permission to speak with the patient’s physician. The hospice agency will take the time to contact the physician to confirm that hospice care is recommended and necessary. To be eligible for hospice under Medicare, the doctor has to estimate the patient has six months or less to live if their condition continues to progress in its current state. While speaking to the physician, the hospice agency will collect all relevant medical information about the patient’s condition, needs and timeline.
Next, the hospice care agency will conduct an assessment with the patient. Note that PRN Hospice offers evaluations that are free of charge and require no commitment.
The assessment is an opportunity for the hospice care agency to answer any questions the patient or family members may have, explain the services offered in hospice care, address any concerns and help everyone feel more comfortable with the transition. During this assessment, a personalized care plan will be created for the patient. This care plan ensures that the patient receives everything they need during their hospice care.
Family members may want to speed up the admissions process by having relevant medical documents on hand during this assessment. Some of the documents you’ll need to share with your hospice care provider are:
- Insurance provider details
- Medicare or Medicaid cards
- Copies of health care directives (Do Not Resuscitate Order, Health Care Proxy, Health Care Power of Attorney)
- Patient medication requirements (what they’re taking, dosage amounts and frequency)
3. Consent Forms Signed
At this stage of the hospice admissions process, consent forms need to be signed. The consent form can be signed by the patient themselves or someone with medical power of attorney over the patient.
The consent form is very similar to a standard form patients fill out when checking into a hospital. It includes the patient’s contact details, insurance information and their confirmation of understanding that they require hospice care, as well as their understanding of what services and care the hospice program will provide. Additionally, the form includes the patient’s rights and protections, so it should be reviewed carefully.
4. Hospice Care Begins
After the consent forms are signed, the timeline for being admitted to hospice care depends on where the patient is currently located and where they want their hospice care. The options and their timelines are listed below.
- Routine in-home care can start within a few days, with PRN Hospice’s Interdisciplinary (IDT) Team starting to visit based on a rotating schedule.
- Respite care can also start within a few days and is meant to provide some relief and support to patients’ caregivers and family members.
- Continuous home care can start within a few days and provides a skilled nurse on standby for up to 24 hours a day when needed. This type of care is available in patients’ homes or assisted living facilities.
- General Inpatient Care (GIP) will require plans for the patient to be transferred to a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or a freestanding care facility. Arrangements for the move will be made immediately after consent forms are signed, and the transfer typically happens within a few days.
If an urgent hospice admissions process is required, most agencies can accommodate this request.
What Is Included With Hospice Care?
Hospice care is a very personal program, as every patient has a unique set of needs and preferences. The team of providers at PRN Hospice includes:
- Registered nurses (RNs)
- Licensed vocational nurses (LVNs)
- Certified home health aids (CHHAs)
- Medical social workers (MSWs)
- Spiritual coordinators
- Volunteer coordinators
- Bereavement coordinators
This team of professionals helps meet the patient’s needs with continuous care and support.
Start the Hospice Admissions Process Today With PRN Hospice
PRN Hospice is a quality and compassionate agency with care available 24 hours a day. While this guide provides you with a general overview of the hospice admission process, it’s important to note that hospice care looks different for everyone. Call us today and we can help you get started by answering any remaining questions, addressing any concerns, and walking you through PRN’s condition-specific criteria for hospice enrollment. PRN offers free, no-obligation hospice assessments, so we can send a caring nurse to you for an in-person consultation.
Hospice care is all about giving your loved one the best quality of life. If you’re ready to start the hospice admission process, please give us a call at 818-946-8242.