The three primary services you will find in the United States are as follows:
1. Hospice Care is defined as a type of care and a philosophy that focuses on the alleviating a terminally ill patient's symptoms. Modern approaches include palliative care for the incurably ill provided by institutions such as hospitals or nursing homes but care can also be provided in the home for those who prefer that option.
Hospice is the only Medicare benefit that includes pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, twenty-four hour/seven day a week access to care and support for loved ones following a death. Hospice care is also covered by Medicaid and most private insurance plans.
2. Palliative care is an area of healthcare that focuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients. Unlike hospice care, palliative medicine is appropriate for patients in all disease stages, including those undergoing treatment for curable illnesses and those living with chronic diseases, as well as patients who are nearing the end of life.
Medicare does not use the term palliative, so coverage is provided by standard Medicare Part B benefits. The palliative care provider (the organization offering you the services) will bill Medicare for services provided. This is also the case with Medicaid, so be sure you understand what co-pays or fees, if any, you will be asked to pay. Ask about your responsibility for fees and request a fee schedule before agreeing to receive services.
3. Respite care provides planned short-term and time-limited breaks for families and other unpaid care givers of children with a developmental delay and adults with an intellectual disability in order to support and maintain the primary care giving relationship.
SSI: Patients with disability coverage may be eligible for home health care benefits. Check your local Social Security office to verify eligibility.
4. Medicaid: Medicaid does not fund respite directly, but some states use waivers to apply federal funds to offset respite costs for residents with specific conditions and disabilities. Consult your state’s Administration on Aging website.