Assisted Living vs. Hospice - Who's in Charge

Assisted Living : Assisted Living vs. Hospice - Who's in Charge

November 29, 2012 - When your loved one requires more and more care as the end of life approaches, all kinds of issues emerge, including many you would never imagine. One that the New York Times recently explored in its helpful series about aging is what happens when multiple parties are helping is in this article, "Assisted Living vs. Hospice - Who's in Charge". 

While the article is quite helpful, its title is a bit misleading - it doesn't really explore the role of hospice vs. assisted living in very much detail. It is more about what happens when your loved one needs more care than the assisted living facility is prepared to give for the base fee being paid. Assisted living is a step down from nursing home care - residents in the former as supposed to be able to get along more on their own, while in a nursing home many residents require assistance for bathing, eating, medications - just about everything they do.



In many cases hospice can provide help to assisted living residents. In at least 4 states (Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, and North Dakota ), however, hospice is not permitted to do so. Some other states limit what hospice can do in assistant living facilities. In those states where hospice can help there can be coordination issues.  In the NY TImes article the issue came up when a relative called hospice for help, who in turn called the assisted living facility. The latter wasn't staffed for the job, but no one bothered to tell the family member. You see how it goes.

When Hospice and Assisted Living Collide

Coordination is about communication. As a concerned relative you should arrange a meeting between both hospice and your assisted living facility.  Mutual expectations need to be discussed - who is going to be responsible for what - and when.

We recommend the entire NY Times article - there are some great ideas. In fact we urge you to read the whole "NewOldAge" series.