elderly patient in nursing home hospice careYour loved one has been living in a nursing home, but has recently entered a new stage. Now, she needs not only nursing home services but also hospice care as the end of her life nears.

Hospice services are often provided right in a nursing home and can be very beneficial to residents and their families. However, there are also risks, and your loved one deserves to make a fair recovery if she’s injured by hospice services in her Kentucky nursing home.

What Is Hospice?

Hospice care provides support for terminally ill patients and their families. Generally, a person is eligible for hospice care if she has:

  • Six months or less to live
  • A rapid decline in the ability to perform activities of daily living (such as showering and preparing food) despite medical treatment
  • Decided to stop medical treatment that is designed to extend life so that she can live the rest of her days more comfortably

An individualized plan of care should be developed to help the person with physical, psychological, and spiritual needs. Hospice care could include, for example:

  • Medication to relieve symptoms or manage pain, but not to extend life or cure an illness
  • Medical equipment such as wheelchairs or walkers to improve quality of life
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy services to improve quality of life
  • Psychological counseling
  • Dietary counseling and advice

Hospice care is most often provided wherever the person is living at the time it is needed. For your loved one, hospice care will happen in a Kentucky nursing home. However, hospice does not pay nursing home room and board and does not take the place of nursing home staff.

Hospice and Nursing Home Staff Must Communicate

Sometimes hospice services and nursing home services overlap, which can lead to confusion and individual patients falling through the cracks. They may not get the services they need from either hospice or the nursing home. According to the American Hospice Foundation, both hospice and nursing homes have specific responsibilities to residents who receive hospice services in a nursing home.

It is hospice’s responsibility to provide services consistent with the Medicare Hospice Benefit, such as:

  • Providing visits from a registered nurse and consultations from a doctor
  • Managing pain and other symptoms
  • Educating nursing home staff and the person’s family about how best to care for the person during this stage
  • Providing emotional support to the person and her family
  • Providing medications related to the person’s terminal illness
  • Coordinating care and medications among all of the person’s doctors and nursing home staff

At the same time, the nursing home must continue to meet its legal and contractual obligations to your loved one, which likely require the nursing home to:

  • Coordinate the person’s care with hospice
  • Report any changes in the person’s health to hospice
  • Provide routine daily care and regularly scheduled medical care
  • Provide medications not related to the person’s terminal illness
  • Continue with regular room and board responsibilities

If either hospice or the nursing home is negligent, the nursing home resident may be hurt.

Protect Your Loved One Every Day of Her Life

If your loved one was injured while under nursing home and hospice care, it may be difficult to find out what happened. Our experienced Kentucky nursing home injury lawyers and staff nurse will investigate exactly what happened to your loved one to determine if it was the nursing home, hospice, or just the natural progression of your loved one’s health conditions that caused her injury. If she suffered any pain or her life ended too soon because of hospice or nursing home negligence, then we will fight hard to get your family the fair recovery you deserve.

To learn more about how we can help your family during this sad time, please call us or start a live chat with us today. We would be pleased to provide you with a free, confidential consultation about your rights and to discuss our No Fee Policy with you.

Mark K. Gray
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Louisville attorney serving the seriously injured in Kentucky

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