Do Assisted Living Facilities Accept Hospice Patients?

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Many assisted living facilities are now able to provide end-of-life care for their senior residents. And with enough research and inquiry, there may be little to no difference in hospice care between in an assisted living facility and in a hospice home. So read on for the important details in cases when assisted living facilities accept hospice patients.

Do Assisted Living Facilities Accept Hospice Patients
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Do you have an elderly loved one who is in hospice care? Are you thinking about moving them to an assisted living facility? Are you wondering whether or not assisted living facilities accept hospice patients?

Well, here is what you need to know about hospice patients and whether or not they can be accommodated in an assisted living facility

What Is The Difference Between Hospice And Assisted Living?

1. Hospice Care 

It refers to care offered to people of different ages who are suffering from a life-threatening illness. People in hospice care may live up to a maximum of 6 months.

Here, they will receive high-quality relief from pain and compassionate nurturing for their emotional needs. Hospice care is mostly geared toward helping people finish their lives with utmost comfort and dignity. 

Hospice care may be offered in a person’s home or in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, hospitals, or dedicated centers. While in hospice care, your loved one will receive the following services:

  • Proper support for feelings around death
  • Assistance with medication dosages and schedules
  • Relief from discomfort or pain from the illness
  • Support for family and information about their tasks and transition

2. Assisted Living 

An assisted living facility offers similar services to hospice centers. However, it is mostly catered to the elderly with limited independence.

Assisted living is offered to people who need help with certain tasks as they grow older. These services include medicine, hygiene, socializing, transportation, and much more. 

Similar to hospice care, assisted living services may also be offered at home or at assisted living centers. Here, your elderly loved one can live alone or with other elderly residents.

Some of the services your elderly loved one will receive at an assisted living facility include getting dressed, hygiene, preparing meals, transportation, running errands, social activities, and much more.

assisted living facilities accept hospice patients benefits
Various hospice services are now offered in an assisted living facility.

Benefits Of Receiving Hospice Care In An Assisted Living Facility

If your elderly loved one is already living in an assisted living community, they don’t have to leave it just to receive hospice care. Many assisted living facilities have now embraced end-of-life care for seniors who are already residents in their facilities.

Some of the benefits of receiving hospice care in an assisted living facility include the following.

  1. It prevents relocation and potentially harmful/disruptive care transitions for senior loved ones who are near the end of their life. As such, it eases the financial and emotional burden of moving to a hospice care facility for both seniors and their loved ones.
  2. It ensures aging in place by ensuring that the elderly loved one receives various hospice services such as spiritual, emotional, and medical care in the assisted living facility.
  3. There is no change in the payment module for non-hospice services, thereby reducing the financial burden on elderly loved ones.

You can learn more about the process of getting parents into an assisted living home here.

Are There Any Drawbacks To Receiving Hospice Care In An Assisted Living Facility?

The financial burden on your loved ones will increase since hospice care will be added to the list of assisted living care. Thereby, it will become more expensive. However, if you have insurance coverage, it will not be a huge burden.

Is Hospice Care Different In Assisted Living Compared To At-Home Or A Hospice Home?

No, there is no notable difference between hospice care offered in an assisted living facility and what’s offered at home or in a hospice home.

Simply put, assisted living facilities adopt hospice care to make things more comfortable for their residents without any major transitions.

Is Hospice Care Covered By Insurance Or Medicare In An Assisted Living Facility?

Yes, hospice care in assisted living facilities is covered by Medicaid and Medicare and numerous private health insurance policies.

Here, your senior loved one will be covered under comfort care or any type of care that relieves discomfort and pain when your loved one’s illness is not responding to treatment.

To qualify for Medicare benefits, you must meet the following criteria:

  • 65 years of age or above
  • Diagnosed with a life-threatening illness
  • Certified by a doctor that you have six months or less to live
  • Agree to forego life-saving treatment
  • Select an assisted living/hospice care that accepts Medicare

Medicare benefits for hospice care in an assisted living facility will cater for two periods of 90 days each and an unlimited number of 60-day periods.

Your doctor should assess whether you have six months or less to live at the start of every period. Note that there are no deductibles for hospice care, but there may be co-payment for medications.

assisted living facilities accept hospice patients when to consider
After careful consideration, you will realize when is the right time for your loved one to receive hospice care.

When Should You Consider Getting Hospice Care For Your Loved One?

Are you wondering whether or not it’s the right time to sign up your loved one for hospice care? Well, here are the top signs that they need hospice care immediately.

1. Treatment Is Not Working

If your loved one suffers from a terminal illness and treatment is not working, they may require hospice care. On the other hand, if your loved one doesn’t want aggressive intervention, hospice care is a good choice.

In hospice care, your loved ones will focus on pain relief and management of their symptoms instead of curing the illness. If your loved one’s doctor decides that they have less than six months to live, that’s when you should consider hospice care.

Some of the illnesses that may prompt hospice care include heart disease, cancer, lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney failure, and much more.

2. Symptoms Are Getting Harder To Manage

The pain will likely increase in the last two years of someone’s life. In the last four months of their life, they will likely experience intense pain.

Such intense pain may lead to anxiety, restlessness, or shortness of breath. If you notice that your loved one’s symptoms are becoming harder to manage, hospice care is a good choice.

3. Frequent Hospital Or Doctor Visits

As people grow older, they will likely visit the emergency department more often. If they have frequently visited the hospital or the doctor in the last six months, it’s a sign that their health is declining. That’s why it’s important to consider hospice care at this time.

4. Multiple Recurrent Infections

As your loved one’s illness progresses, they will likely suffer worse symptoms. Even worse, they might experience recurrent infections such as sepsis, pneumonia, or UTIs. If these happen more frequently, you must consider hospice care for your loved one.

5. Unable To Offer Duties As A Caregiver

Are you feeling overwhelmed or stressed as a caregiver? If this happens, you will not be able to offer your duties to your loved one.

You need to admit that you need support and find the best hospice care for your loved one. It’s not an act of defeat but rather an act of love in admitting you need help.

Are Hospice Care And Palliative Care The Same Thing?

No, hospice care and palliative care are not the same things. Note that they both alleviate pain and improve your loved one’s quality of life, but they are different.

For instance, hospice care is mostly for patients with six months or less to live, while there are no time constraints for palliative care. On the other hand, palliative care also includes curative treatments, while hospice care doesn’t offer the same. 

Final Thoughts

The main goal of hospice care is to make your loved one’s last days as comfortable, peaceful, and meaningful as possible. If they are in an assisted living facility, ensure your loved one receives top-notch assistance.

However, you must decide the right time to transition your loved one to hospice care for the best results.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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