Hospice & Palliative Care

At CommonSpirit Health we are inspired to make every moment matter.

Hospice & Palliative Care

At CommonSpirit Health we are inspired to make every moment matter.

Hospice & palliative care services.

Health at Home has been providing compassionate palliative and end-of-life care for over 30 years in the State of Colorado. Our team of nurses, aides, social workers, chaplains and volunteers will spend time with you, your family and your physician to create a customized plan that meets your goals and needs.

Our staff is fully trained and screened before they ever reach your door. And we are accredited by The Joint Commission, which means we have demonstrated our ability to provide quality care. Whether you receive care in your own home, hospital or residence, or at one of our in-patient facilities, we will make you as comfortable as possible.

We believe in treating the whole person…body, mind and spirit. In addition to providing excellent clinical care we know that faith and inner strength can be a powerful force. That’s why we give special attention to your spiritual well-being too. Our non-denominational chaplains are available as needed.

Q. When is the right time to consider hospice?
  At any time during a life-limiting illness, it's appropriate to discuss all of the treatment options available, including hospice. Our staff members are always available to talk about hospice care with family members and your physician to determine the right time for you.

Q. Is home the only place hospice care can be delivered?
 No. Patients can live in nursing homes, assisted living centers or other alternative settings and still receive hospice care. Hospice can follow a patient wherever they go, from hospital to home to a facility and home again. Hospice care is consistently there.

Q. Is there any special equipment or changes I have to make in my home before hospice care begins?
 Our staff will assess your needs and recommend any necessary equipment. We'll discuss your options and arrange to have what you need delivered to your home.

Q. Will insurance pay for hospice care?
 In most cases yes. We accept Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances. Our health benefit advisor will help determine what insurance will cover.

To be admitted to Hospice you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your physician has determined you are in the last stages of a terminal illness
  • You reside in our service area
  • You agree with the goals of comfort care

Hospice Benefits Under Medicare

Since 1983, the Medicare (Part A) hospital insurance program has included hospice care as a benefit available to participants. People who have a terminal illness can choose to receive palliative and/or comfort care - that is, medical and support services for their illness while continuing to live in their homes or other appropriate settings.

When the patient elects the hospice benefit, the patient waives the right to standard Medicare benefits for all of the services related to his or her terminal illness. Medicare will continue to make payments to the attending physician for services if the physician is not a hospice employee.

Benefit Periods

The Medicare Hospice Benefit is divided into benefit periods. These consist of two 90-day periods, followed by an unlimited number of 60-day periods. They must be used in the above order. Hospice care is considered continuous from one period to another unless you choose to revoke the benefit or you are discharged. A hospice may discharge an individual when a patient stabilizes with no signs of serious clinical decline or if the patient is not in the service area.

Revocation of the Hospice Benefit

You may elect to revoke (end) the hospice benefit at any time by filing a signed statement with the hospice. This may be necessary if you choose to pursue another course of treatment or simply decide you do not want to be in a hospice program.

Palliative care is provided by a team of professionals who address a patient’s physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs, and help them cope with the pain and anxiety that come with major health changes. This care may be provided along with other medical treatment.

Services provided by palliative care team:

  • Collaborates with the primary care doctor/referring physician to relieve difficult symptoms associated with illness
  • Manage side effects associated with current treatment
  • Address changing goals of care
  • Help patients consider care options and make decisions about quality of life
  • Help interpret the benefits/burdens of treatments (tests, surgeries, radiation)
  • Enhance patient and family support
  • Provide spiritual and emotional support
  • Assist with care planning options including home care, rehabilitation, telehealth, long term care or hospice
  • Assist with discharge palnning, home care, extended care or hospice
  • Grief counseling and bereavement support

Q. When is the right time to consider palliative care?
 Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of a serious illness, at any age.

Q. Who is eligible for palliative care?
 Palliative care is appropriate for anyone diagnosed with a progressive, chronic, critical or life-threatening illness. This includes but is not limited to patients with:

  • Cancer
  • Heart failure
  • Severe diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Advanced Alzheimer's disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Patients with a lack of response to curative therapies
  • Spiritual and/or emotional distress

Q. Is there any special equipment or changes the patient has to make in the home before palliative care begins?
No. If special equipment or special assistance is needed, a palliative care team member can coordinate with Health at Home to get the resources the patient needs.

Q. Who will come to our home?
Any member of the palliative care team may visit including an advanced practice nurse/registered nurse, social worker, non-denominational chaplain, physician or other health care providers.

Q. Who pays for palliative care?
 Medicare covers a portion of the cost for palliative care, however patients are responsible for co-pay.

Q. How can a patient enroll in palliative care?
The patient's physician needs to write an order for palliative care.