Nursing Home Justice Blog

Why Do Nursing Homes Push Hospice Care?

Written By:

Attorney Mac Hester

Date Posted:

September 15, 2023

When a loved one’s condition worsens and medical professionals diagnose them with a terminal illness, it might be time to seek hospice care. This care is offered as a Medicare benefit and could help improve the quality of the remainder of a patient’s life. However, hospice is not always necessary, and many nursing homes receive financial benefits for sending residents to hospice.

This leaves patients vulnerable to below-average care and fraud. Here’s more on how hospice can benefit your loved one and the greedy reasons why nursing homes push for hospice care when they don’t need it.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is a Medicare benefit that provides terminally ill patients with end-of-life care to meet their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. This type of care, known as palliative care, aims to manage the pain and stress brought on by a patient’s symptoms as they transition from life to death. Note that this care is not intended to cure patients. Instead, this care can ease their symptoms until they eventually pass away.

What Services Does Hospice Provide?

The American Hospice Foundation states that hospice offers the following services:

  • Consultations by a specialized hospice physician as needed
  • Pain management
  • Education for nursing home staff, patients, and families about the patient’s condition and the best ways to care for them
  • Emotional and spiritual support for families after the patient’s death
  • Providing medication to the patient

The services provided by hospice care units are not intended to replace general nursing home care. Instead, nursing home staff and hospice care nurses must work together to meet all of the patient’s needs. Nursing home staff members are still responsible for daily patient care, coordinating that care with hospice staff, and monitoring the patient’s condition.

How is Hospice Negligent for Abuse & Neglect?

The hospice must ensure that all employees are qualified to care for a patient’s needs, which might include the following:

  • Bathing
  • Skincare
  • Shaving
  • Feeding
  • Dressing
  • Bladder and bowel care
  • Positioning

Additionally, staff members must know how to care for patients with cognitive disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia. These patients are extremely vulnerable to suffering in hospice care because they cannot voice their palliative care needs, and as a result, they experience more pain.

Hospice must also perform a criminal background check on all potential employees and verify that they have proper licensing and certification. Nurses with criminal histories and unverified licensing could put residents at risk for physical, emotional, or financial abuse. If the hospice fails to perform a proper background check or hires unqualified nurses, they could be found negligent for any damages.

The Real Reason Nursing Homes Push for Hospice Care

Nursing homes may recommend hospice care for honest reasons. Medical professionals may have diagnosed your loved one with a terminal illness, and they may benefit from the palliative care that hospice provides. However, nursing homes may push for hospice care for all the wrong reasons, leaving you or a loved one vulnerable to hospice fraud.

Hospices have close relationships with many nursing homes due to the number of aging patients that reside there. To boost profits, hospice often incentivize nursing home residents with gifts or cash to opt for hospice care even though they aren’t terminally ill.

Once in hospice care, staff members disregard a patient’s care plan and move on to solicit more nursing home residents. Research conducted by Propublica.org cites lack of oversight and money-motivated hospice owners as the driving factors behind hospice fraud.

Contact Nursing Home Justice for Help Today

When your loved one nears the end of their life, you must ensure they receive the quality care they deserve. When unqualified staff members cause your loved one to suffer, they should be held responsible for their actions. Nursing Home Justice understands what you’re going through and will ensure you receive the financial compensation needed to cover your expenses.

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