Hospice Is a Care Solution for Residents in Assisted Living Facilities

When residents of assisted living facilities (ALF) require skilled nursing care, hospice is a beneficial healthcare solution for the facility and residents alike.

Hospice is a particularly helpful option if state or ALF policies require residents who have an advanced illness or who are nearing the end of life to be discharged to higher levels of care, either within or outside of the ALF.

Hospice care in the ALF:

  • Maintains the facility’s reimbursement/payment stream for non-hospice services
  • Supports aging in place by bringing a range of hospice services—medical, emotional, and spiritual—directly to the resident in the ALF
  • Avoids relocation or disruptive, potentially harmful care transitions near the end of life, easing emotional and financial burdens for the resident and family

Seamless Transitions to Hospice Support ALF Residents, Families, and Staff

A referral to hospice keeps residents in the ALF for end-of-life care, with skilled medical/psychosocial care and supplemental personal care provided by the hospice team. Residents remain in familiar surroundings, with VITAS providing comfort-focused care, equipment, and supplies to address the hospice diagnosis, while the ALF continues to provide non-hospice-related services.

During an evaluation with the ALF resident, family, and staff, a hospice admissions nurse will identify which services are already provided by the ALF and which additional services or supplies are needed to keep the resident comfortable in the facility. ALF services (sometimes available at extra cost) might include housekeeping, an aide’s support, or medication administration.

ALF Residents Benefit From Hospice Expertise, Equipment, Supplies and 24/7 Care

The hospice team provides extra levels of support related to the resident’s diagnosis, including:

  • Care in the ALF via regularly scheduled visits from members of an interdisciplinary hospice team: nurse, aide, physician, social worker, chaplain, and volunteer
    • In collaboration with the attending physician, the hospice nurse and physician oversee medical care and update the resident’s care plan as needed
    • The hospice aide, social worker, chaplain, and volunteer address the resident’s personal hygiene, emotional, and spiritual needs.
  • Timely delivery of medical equipment to the resident, such as a hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, bedside commode, medications, or other supplies.
    • Once a hospice referral has been made, VITAS typically supports the care transition within 24 hours.
  • Assistance from a hospice social worker, who can help with insurance benefits or connections to other community resources
  • VITAS offers expert symptom management to improve residents’ experience. Modalities can include high-flow oxygen, wound care, fluid management and other integrative services.
  • Ongoing support for goals-of-care conversations, advance care planning, and advance directives to explore what residents understand about their diagnosis, symptoms, and prognosis, and to help them identify their goals, values, and wishes for end-of-life care as their health declines
  • Support at the time of death, including contacting the physician and transferring the body to the funeral home
  • Assistance for the family with funeral arrangements
  • Timely physician’s signature on the death certificate
  • Spiritual support and pastoral care from a hospice chaplain
  • Bereavement support for the patient, family, and ALF staff leading up to and for up to 13 months after a death

Hospice care is a feasible solution for end-of-life care in the ALF setting, one that benefits ALFs in a noncompetitive manner and gives residents the assurance that they can remain at home (where they prefer to be) for end-of-life care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is your patient ready for hospice?