Page 15 - Senior Times South Central Michigan August 2020 - 27-08
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      What It Means When Your Loved One’s Doctor Recommends Hospice
By: Mary Peterson, Program Coordinator, CareWell Services SW
My Medicare Matters Authorization Forms in Times of COVID19
By: Karen Courtney, Regional MMAP Coordinator, CareWell Services SW
Senior Times - August 2020
Page 15
   The referral to hospice is, many times, misunderstood
by those caring for loved ones with a terminal illness. Many misconceptions exist regarding hospice care, so when a doctor recommends hospice it can
leave a family with feelings of hopelessness or despair. Hospice services are not only for the
last weeks of life, and choosing hospice does not mean a person or their loved ones are giving up.
Hospice services are not limited only to the length of prognosis, and will continue as long as needed.
medical, emotional, and spiritual support. Visits from members of the hospice team occur regularly, and someone is always available by phone. While treatment aimed at curing an illness is stopped, other treatments such as pain management or maintenance medications for conditions such as high blood pressure will continue.
   If you are a Caregiver or next- of-kin, please consider filing proper forms with government agencies in advance of health emergencies.
For Medicare, you need legal authorization anytime you’re acting on behalf of a beneficiary. You can’t enroll another person in Medicare,
a Prescription Drug Plan, or a Medicare Advantage Plan--even your spouse--unless you have power of attorney, health-care proxy or other authorization to make such decisions for the beneficiary.
Medicare also has privacy protections that limit access of medical information to people other than the beneficiary. Medicare’s Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information form can be found on Medicare.gov, under the “Claims and Appeals” section of the main page. https://www.cms.gov/ Medicare/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms/ Downloads/CMS10106.pdf
Call the customer service number on the back of your insurance or prescription plan cards to find out what release of information forms they require in order to talk to caregivers.
The Michigan Department
of Health and Human Services (Medicaid) has its own form,
the Michigan DCH 1183. Get
it at: https://www.michigan. gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339- 71551_2945_24020-65875--,00. html. Caregivers need to have this on file in advance of making any enrollment decisions for a Medicaid beneficiary. MMAP recommends you give a fresh copy of DCH 1183 every time you send in Medicaid Redetermination forms, so DHHS will have it on file!
The following links to an
article with resources for SSA releases, Medicare releases, and the VA-approved Fiduciary programs. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/ make-sure-you-are-an-authorized- representative-for-your-loved- one-202376.htm
Michigan’s State Health Insurance Information Program (SHIP) is the Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP). MMAP assists Medicare Beneficiaries and Medicare beneficiaries who also have Medicaid with health insurance related concerns. Call MMAP at 800-803-7174. For advance planning documents or legal assistance, please contact an attorney.
To better understand what
a hospice referral means for your loved one, it is important to understand what hospice is and the services included. Here is some information to help understand the role of hospice:
Is hospice right for my loved one? Hospice care is designed for those facing a terminal illness or injury. When a disease stops responding to treatment, or a person chooses not to undergo a taxing treatment near the end of life, hospice can help treat the symptoms and provide the most comfort possible. The focus of Hospice care is on improving or maintaining the highest quality of life by providing emotional, spiritual and physical support.
When will a doctor refer my loved one to hospice? A doctor will refer to hospice when the prognosis is six months or less if the disease runs its natural course.
More information on hospice care can be found at: https:// www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are- palliative-care-and-hospice-care.
Does my loved one need a doctor’s referral for hospice? Anyone, including a family member, a caregiver, or the patient themselves, can make a referral for hospice care.
What services or supports are provided if my loved one receives respite care at home? Although hospice provides a lot of support, the day-to-day care
of a person dying at home is provided by family and friends. The hospice team coaches family members on how to care for their loved one and even provides respite care when caregivers need a break. Respite care can be for as short as a few hours or for as long as several weeks.
 What is hospice? Hospice
is a model of care for persons with terminal or life-limiting illness or injury. The approach
to care is patient-centered, team- oriented, and emphasises quality and compassion. Hospice is not a place, although there are hospice facilities, and services can be offered at home or in a facility.
What services or treatments are provided through hospice care? In hospice, attempts
to cure a person’s illness are stopped. The hospice care model brings together a team of people including nurses, doctors, social workers, spiritual advisors,
and trained volunteers to work together with the patient and their support system to provide
Is hospice expensive? Hospice may be covered by Medicare and other insurance companies; check to see if insurance will cover your particular situation. There are many different payment options available for hospice care.
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