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What Factors Affect the Cost of Hospice?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many factors which can impact the cost of hospice care, including whether or not the patient has insurance, where the care is taking place, and the duration of care. Many hospice programs take place inside the patient's home, and family members are able to offer some of the medical necessities. In order cases, patients may be placed in a hospice facility for around the clock monitoring. This option might also be used if there are no close family members living nearby, or if those who are nearby don't have the resources or time for consistent care.

Hospice programs are designed for those who are expected to live six months or less. They are also sometimes called end of life care, or palliative care. Most times, hospice involves family members providing care in the patient's home. This allows them to spend their final days outside of the sterile and impersonal environment associated with most hospitals. Nurses and doctors are still involved with care, but family members are generally taught to give certain medications so that they are needed much less often. This makes the cost of hospice care much lower than hospitals and nursing homes in most cases.

One of the primary factors which affects the cost of hospice care is the extent to which doctors and nurses have to be involved. Most hospice patients do not continue to receive curative care. Instead, they are given treatments to make them more comfortable so that they can live their last days in peace. If family members are able to provide this care most of the time, the cost will be much lower.

A patient's insurance will also greatly affect the price of hospice care. Most insurance and government-funded programs will cover the price of hospice care. When they don't, there are other programs which may allow patients to get the care they need at no cost. If even this is not possible, payment arrangements may be possible with some doctors. In most cases, however, insurance companies would rather cover the lower cost of hospice care than for extended stays in the hospital.

The length of a patient's care will also impact the cost of hospice care. Although most patients don't enter hospice until they only have a few months of life expectancy left, some of them will live much longer. Others will pass away before expected. The long a person is in hospice care, the higher the overall cost will be.

Some patients will be able to receive hospice care in their homes. There are facilities available for these people, and they are usually a combination of a home-like environment and a hospital. Although they may still be less expensive than a conventional hospital stay, they are pricier than hospice care offered at home.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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