Palliative care – there when you need it
The sad reality is that some of us will need ‘end-of-life-care’ for ourselves or our loved ones at some stage. What does palliative care entail, and how can the Scheme help?
What is palliative care?
The Hospice Palliative Care Association (HPCA) of South Africa defines palliative care as follows:
“… an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing life-threatening illnesses, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other symptoms, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.”
How can the Scheme help?
1. Nursing services
The Scheme will cover 100% of cost (with a sub-limit of R16 090 – for 2017 – per family per year) in a registered facility, if pre-authorised. This benefit covers home services by a registered nurse and is for short-term episodes of acute care, in the place of hospitalisation.
Hospice offers care centred around the patient, whether it be at the hospital or clinic, or at home with loved ones. Hospice provides a smooth transition between the need for clinical care at hospital and care that can be applied at home. In terms of hospice, the Scheme covers claims at cost or Medical Scheme Rate, whichever is the lesser, up to R29 810 (for 2017) per family per year. Medication will be covered from the available acute medicine limit.
3. Social worker
In the case of terminal cancer patients, the Scheme offers a social worker benefit of R2 810 (for 2017) per family per year, subject to the Oncology Benefit limit, to pay for seven sessions with a social worker affiliated to the Nedgroup Oncology Network. These sessions can be used by the patient and/or family members.