From Facebook

FAQ

Young female doctor holding his patient hand.

 Home Health Care FAQ

(click on question to see answer)

Who qualifies for Medicare-funded home health coverage?

What is not covered by Medicare?

What other options are available to pay for Home Health Care?

How long will services continue?

Why does Senior Independence of Montana include a nurse visit in all care plans?

Hospice FAQ

(click on question to see answer)

What is hospice care?

What services does hospice provide?

Who pays for hospice?

When is the right time to ask about Hospice?

Is Hospice just for cancer patients?

When is the best time to start hospice care?

What if I choose Hospice and then live for more than six months?

How can hospice care help me and my family?

When is hospice care available to me?

Do I have to live at St John’s to have Senior Independence Home Health or Hospice?

How can I learn more?

 

 

Who qualifies for Medicare-funded home health coverage?
In order to qualify, you must meet all four of these conditions:

  1. Your doctor determines that you need medical care in your home.
  2. You must be homebound.  This means that it is a taxing effort to leave your home.  You can still be considered homebound if you attend church, make occasional trips to the barber or beauty shop or attend medical appointments.
  3. The care you need must include skilled nursing care and/or physical, occupational or speech therapy services.  If you need full-time nursing care, you are not qualified for home health services.
  4. The home health agency serving you must be approved by Medicare.  Senior Independence of Montana is a Medicare approved provider for home health care.

Back to Top

What is not covered by Medicare?
Medicare does not cover the following services:

  • 24 hour care at home
  • Self administered prescription drugs
  • Meals delivered to the home.
  • Homemaker services such as shopping, cleaning and laundry.
  • Personal care provided by home health aides when this is the only care you need. Medicare classifies this as “custodial care” because it could be provided safely and responsibly by people without professional skills and training.

If you need help with these services, there are several agencies in Billings that may help.  Contact Senior Independence of Montana or call Adult Resource Alliance at 406-259-9666 to learn more.

Back to Top

What other options are available to pay for Home Health Care?
Senior Independence of Montana Home Health Care has contracts with several health insurance companies.  Please contact us to determine available coverage under your policy.

Back to Top

How long will services continue?
Medicare and many health insurance policies pay for covered home health services for as long as they are considered medically reasonable and necessary.  However, skilled nursing care and home health aide services are covered on a part time or intermittent basis.  Basically, this means there are limits on the number of hours and days of care you can receive in any week for certain types of services.

Back to Top

Why does Senior Independence of Montana include a nurse visit in all care plans?
When a patient is discharged with orders for Home Health Care, the referral may only be for therapy services.  However, we have found it beneficial for patients to have a one-time visit from one of our trained and compassionate registered nurses to review medications, assess the home environment and make recommendations to support the plan of care developed by the therapist.  Our goal is to ensure safety and a support a full recovery for the patients we serve.  There is no cost to the patient for this visit by the nurse.

Back to To

Hospice

What is hospice care?
Hospice is really a philosophy of care. It is our mission to treat the person, rather than the disease — and focus on quality of life. Hospice care helps people with life-limiting illness live their final months in comfort and dignity.   Hospice surrounds the patient and family with a team of specialists who offer medical assistance combined with emotional and spiritual support.

Back to Top

What services does hospice provide?
Hospice includes the services of an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals:

  • Physicians (the patient’s own physician and the hospice physicians, who are specialist in controlling pain and other symptoms of serious illness) prescribe medications and other methods of pain and symptom control.
  • Nurses are experts at maintaining patient comfort. They assess the patient frequently and help family members provide the necessary support.
  • Certified nurse assistants provide personal care and help the patient and family with activities of daily living. They also provide companionship and valuable emotional support.
  • Social workers coordinate community resources and help the patient and family with non-medical concerns. They can help family members mend damaged relationships, plan for the future and ease other emotional difficulties.
  • Chaplains help patients and families cope with spiritual questions and concerns at the end of life, either directly or by coordinating services with the patient’s and family’s spiritual advisors.
  • Bereavement coordinators help patients and families deal with grief. Grief support services continue for at least one year after the death of a hospice patient.
  • Volunteers provide companionship and emotional support in various ways.
  • Dietary counseling, physical, occupational or speech therapies as needed to support patient’s plan of care.
  • Hospice also provides medications, medical equipment and supplies necessary to promote comfort at home or in other hospice settings.

Back to Top

Who pays for hospice?
Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies cover most hospice services. We will work with you to contact your insurance company to learn about individual coverage and any co-payments.

Back to Top

When is the right time to ask about Hospice?
Sooner than later. End-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, but it is wise for family members to communicate their wishes long before it becomes a concern. These conversations can greatly reduce stress when it is time for hospice services, and help ensure that patients make an educated decision that includes input from family members and loved ones.

Back to Top

Is Hospice just for cancer patients?
No, Hospice is appropriate for any patient with a terminal illness and a prognosis of less than six months. Cancer, kidney disease, Parkinson’s, ALS, multiple sclerosis, liver disease, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s and dementia are on the short list of ailments our patients have.

Back to Top

When is the best time to start hospice care?
Most patients and families who receive hospice care say they wish they had known about it earlier, and that they really needed the help and support much sooner than they received it. Experts agree that at least two to three months of care is optimal, and can help increase the quality of life for the patient and the emotional support for family and loved ones. If you think that your family member or the person you care for could benefit pain or symptom management emotional and spiritual support – or any of the other services hospice can offer – ask you physician if the timing might be right.

Back to Top

What if I choose Hospice and then live for more than six months?
Hospice care does not automatically end after six months.  Medicare and most other insurers will continue to pay for hospice care as long as a physician certifies that the patient continues to have a limited life expectancy.

Back to Top

How can hospice care help me and my family?
Many families have little or no experience caring for someone who is dying. The hospice team can help you and your family or loved ones in many ways. For example, the hospice team provides comfort care to relieve pain and symptoms, offers emotional and spiritual support, teaches specific care techniques, arranges for necessary equipment, and answers questions you or your family may have.

Back to Top

When is hospice care available to me?
The hospice team will talk to you and your family about how often you need regular visits and then schedule them. The hospice team itself does not provide 24-hour care, but can help make arrangements if that is what you need. Hospice care includes access to a registered nurse who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergency situations.

Back to Top

 

Do I have to live at St John’s to have Senior Independence Home Health or Hospice?

No.  SI serves all of Yellowstone county, so whether you live in your own home, an assisted living community or skilled nursing facility, we would be happy to serve you. 

Back to To

 

How can I learn more?

  • Visit the National Hospice Palliative Organization website
  • Ask your doctor about the prognosis of your illness and discuss the timing of a referral for hospice.
  • Contact Senior Independence of Montana for a consultation (655-5800)