Most people do not want to end their lives in the cold, impersonal environment of a hospital or nursing home. They would prefer to fade away peacefully in comfortable, familiar surroundings. This is where home hospice care can prove to be invaluable.

Iowa Medicaid can cover the cost of home hospice care once you have demonstrated your eligibility. This can make end of life care much more manageable for an entire family.

Hospice Care in Iowa

Under Iowa Medicaid, hospice is defined as an agency that provides care to individuals with a terminal illness. The focus with hospice care is on meeting physical, social, and spiritual needs of the individual and their family and caregivers, and seeking comfort rather than a cure. Hospice prioritizes quality of life through pain management and other palliative care.

Hospice care can be provided in a home or in a nursing facility. When hospice is provided in the home, it offers a more peaceful environment suited to comfort care, and can enable more family members to participate in the caregiving process.

To receive hospice care in the home through Iowa Medicaid, an individual must have full Medicaid eligibility. The individual’s doctor must certify that their patient is suffering from a terminal illness that would ordinarily lead to death within six months. Hospice is often provided for patients with conditions such as cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, and dementia.

Services Available Through Hospice in Iowa

The needs of the patient and the patient’s caregivers will determine what services are provided in each particular situation. Available services include:

  • Nursing and physician services
  • Spiritual and bereavement counseling
  • Dietary counseling
  • Occupational, physical, and speech therapy
  • Homemaker and volunteer services
  • Drugs and medical equipment (such as a hospital bed)
  • Hospice aide
  • Inpatient respite care

These services are available for home hospice as well as hospice in a nursing home or other facility.

Interdisciplinary Hospice Care Team

Patients receiving hospice care through Iowa Medicaid are served by a care team of different professionals. The team generally includes a physician, registered nurse and social worker. In addition, the team will include a pastoral counselor or other counselor. Trained volunteers may also make up part of the team, depending on the situation.

The team will create a Plan of Care to meet the patient’s needs, and that plan will be updated frequently. The plan should be updated whenever the patient’s condition changes, or at least every 15 days.

Paying for Hospice Care at Home

Like all forms of health care, hospice services can become expensive. Those who qualify for Medicaid should find their needs covered. Hospice can also be paid for through Medicare Part A, VA benefits, or private insurance.

If you are not certain you or a loved one can qualify for Medicaid hospice benefits, talk to an elder care attorney to learn your options.

Huizenga Law Helps Families and Individuals with Plans to Cover Home Hospice Costs

Sometimes, people are on the fence about whether to create a plan to qualify for Medicaid because they don’t believe they will need skilled nursing care in a facility or in the home. However, at some point, most people are likely to need hospice care, and it is much better to have the option of receiving care at home.

At Huizenga Law, we help families review their current and future needs to develop the best plan to provide for care. Often that plan includes strategies for establishing Medicaid eligibility without unnecessary depletion of assets. But every plan is different. We invite you to schedule a consultation to learn how we can help your family’s needs.