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Assisted Living and Hospice Care

Jeff Anderson
By Jeff AndersonJuly 23, 2015

Last Updated: April 19, 2019

Assisted living communities are increasingly conducive to aging in place. Working in tandem with hospice care, communities are often able to accommodate residents through end-of-life.

Learn more about the transition between assisted living and hospice care.

Aging in Place in Assisted Living

Many assisted living communities embrace an “aging in place” philosophy meaning that residents receive increasing levels of care without having to leave the community. This allows residents to stay in their community for as long as they choose – from assisted living to end-of-life hospice care – which removes a lot of the uncertainty from the long-term care planning.

To accommodate residents through end-of-life, many assisted living communities allow hospice care providers to visit residents who are terminally ill. According to Argentum (formerly the Assisted Living Federation of America), around one-third of assisted living residents receive end-of-life care at the community they have made their home.

Hospice care, which is covered by Medicare and most private health insurance plans, provides what’s known as comfort care — care that eases pain and alleviates discomfort when a patient’s illness is no longer responding to treatment.

Hospice nurses do much more than provide medications such as painkillers and sedatives. They educate the patient’s primary caregiver as well as provide emotional support and counseling to the patient and the patient’s loved ones. The goal is to allow the patient to have a comfortable and dignified exit from this life.

Hospice Care

A common misconception about hospice is that it’s somewhere patients go. While there are some hospice facilities, they are fairly rare. Hospice nurses visit patients in their own homes, wherever that happens to be. For assisted living residents, of course, the community is their home.

A growing number of assisted living communities are able to accommodate residents who need hospice care during their time at the community. While four states (Idaho, Mississippi, Montana and North Dakota) have regulations requiring hospice care be provided in setting outside of assisted living, in other states, it’s fully permissible and the discretion of the senior community.

No assisted living community can guarantee that they will be able to accommodate a resident until their last days. Certain scenarios will require that a terminally ill resident be moved to a nursing home or hospital. But if the resident doesn’t need the kind of care or attention that’s provided at a hospital or nursing home, he or she can very often remain at the senior community with the aid of hospice.

Jennifer Hall, marketing director of Aegis Living told us, “The hospice concept of comfort and dignity is fully embraced by Aegis and we are committed to assisting our residents to access this benefit if desired.” She continues:

“When medicine cannot provide a cure, hospice can offer assistance, care and comfort that can help maintain a better quality of life for the patient.”

Hospice nurses, who are very team-oriented, will work together with the staff of the assisted living community to coordinate and plan care.

A Place for Mom can assist families who are interested in assisted living communities that allow visiting hospice care. Our Senior Living Advisors provide families a tailored list of communities that meet their loved one’s specific needs and preferences and they can provide a list of appropriate communities that permit onsite hospice should it one day become necessary.

What questions do you have about assisted living and hospice care? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Jeff Anderson
Jeff Anderson
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