NY Times: Assisted Living and Hospice Power Struggle Takes Toll on Residents

With an increasing amount of seniors living their remaining years in assisted living facilities, hospice services have gained popularity among residents and their loved ones.

The inclusion of hospice in assisted living communities, while deemed necessary for seniors and family members requesting end-of-life care, raises the question as to who is in charge? In other words, where is the line drawn between assisted living’s and hospice’s jurisdiction regarding specific situations?

In an article from the New York Times, Judith Graham discusses the power struggle between hospice and assisted living communities. As it turns out, the residents and their loved ones are the ones who ultimately suffer from this gray area. 

The New York Times writes:

“Once, older adults moved out of assisted living when they developed life-threatening illnesses, going mostly to nursing homes with round-the-clock care. But now, assisted living facilities usually try to help residents remain in their apartments, even when they’re seriously ill and eligible for end-of-life hospice care. 

But arranging hospice care in assisted living facilities presents challenges. A handful of—Idaho, Mississippi, and North Dakota—won’t allow hospice services to be provided at assisted living centers, deeming the needs of end-of-life residents too demanding for these facilities.

A common misunderstanding surrounds how much attention assisted living centers can give to someone who is terminally ill and whose medical needs are intensifying. 

Assisted living staff may have worked with the resident for years, but when hospice staff comes in and takes charge medically, a different set of relationships and a different kind of communication becomes necessary, said Judi Lund Person, vice president of compliance and regulatory leadership for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.”

Read the full article here. 

Written by Jason Oliva

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