Palliative care: what, where and which compensations
Palliative Care is…
…a continuous, complete caregiving to a patient who can no longer be cured and who will soon pass away.
Within this care there is a focus on the patient as a person. Their own wishes will be held into account and their own values and standards will be respected.
The family and surroundings of the patient will be attended to.
A good cooperation between all regular social workers is necessary.
Aside from treating the pain and other symptoms, there will be taken care of physical comfort, psychosocial and emotional counseling and support concerning questions about the philosophy of life, religion and giving meaning to life.
The goal of Palliative Care is…
…retaining the quality of life as long and as well as possible, both for the patient and their surroundings.
Where do you find Palliative Care?
Palliative Care at Home:
The patient that’s home, is surrounded by different caregiving organizations that offer palliative care. That way they can ask for the doctor, home care, health insurance, family care and other home care services…
It’s often the case that family, neighbors, friends also fill in an important part in caring for a patient.
In case of specific problems in palliative care the patient, their surroundings and the involved caregivers can appeal to a counseling team of the Palliative Homecare for advice, support and guidance.
The palliative nurses are experts when it comes to pain and symptom control, comfort care, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual support.
The nurses are accessible 24/7. They work closely together with the caregivers that already work there, but don’t take over their tasks.
Volunteers can be used a few hours a week. This always happens in consultation with the palliative care nurses.
Palliative Care in the Elderly Homes and Resting Homes for Elderly:
A palliative occupant and their family can appeal to the expert Palliative Care or to the Palliative Care Support team of the institution.
These ‘informants’ are specifically trained in palliative care. They strive for a maximum of comfort in this last phase of life.
Palliative Care at the Hospital:
At the hospital a patient who is terminally ill and their family can appeal to an expert from the Palliative Support team. This team offers support concerning pain and symptom control, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual guidance.
The Palliative Support team works closely together with colleagues from the department where the patient is staying. The team itself isn’t bound to a department but can be used by different departments.
If the patient leaves the hospital, the support team makes sure the transfer back home goes as smoothly as possible and that the continuity of the palliative care is guaranteed by for example a good cooperation with the family doctor and using Palliative Care.
Palliative Care in a Palliative Unit:
A Palliative Unit is a small provision where palliative patients can be temporarily or permanently admitted if they can’t be taken care of at home any longer. A homely atmosphere resides there.
The doctor and caregivers are experts in Palliative Care. They offer caregiving with time for and at the pace of the patient. They also offer support to the family.
Network Palliative Care:
The Network is an overarching organization that wants to optimize palliative care in the environment by consulting all palliative settings (cf. above) and good information flow.
You can always go to the Network for questions about palliative care, for information and advice.
Aside from that the Network is also responsible for sensitization, education and training concerning Palliative Care.
Specific social services
Palliative care benefits
Palliative patients, who have the intention to pass away at home, can appeal to a benefit of 483.39 euro a month and this for 2 months tops.
The attending physician needs to fill out a form, which has to be sent to the medical expert from the health insurance. This needs to be done again for the second month.
If the patient would pass away during this benefit period or be hospitalized, the remainder of the amount won’t be reclaimed.
Palliative care leave
Everyone who helps and cares for a palliative patient can ask for palliative care leave. The applicant doesn’t need to be a family member of the patient but can just as well be a friend or neighbor.
This kind of career break is a right. The employee who submits a medical certificate which shows he/she is giving palliative care, can apply for a full (5/5) or partial career break (1/2 or 1/5) of one month, with the possibility to extend it with one month. The name of the patient isn’t mentioned on the certificate.
The leave starts on the first day of the week, following the week the certificate was submitted to the employer, or sooner if the employer should agree to it.
If the patient passes away during this period the caregiver can continue taking the leave until the allowed deadline or they can start working again.
The compensation is 536.65 euro a month during a full time career break (proportional with part-time break).
Leave for medical assistance for taking care of a seriously ill family member
A full or partial career break can be applied for to take care of a seriously ill family member (up to the second degree). The attending physician has to fill out a certificate which shows the employee will be taking care of the person.
The time off starts on the first day of the second month of notification to the employer or sooner if the employer gives written permission. The employer isn’t obliged to allow this.
Time off in the sense of medical assistance is limited to 12 months and the application is for at least 1 month and at most 3 months, whether or not they are consecutive.
The financial compensation is the same as with palliative care leave.
Annulment of patient fees during the family doctor’s home visit
A home visit from the family doctor to a palliative patient is entirely charged to the health insurance. Patient fees no longer need to be paid. For this you need to hand in a certificate from the doctor at the patient’s health insurance.
Other possible compensations
You can ask for a compensation at the “Flemish League Against Cancer” or the “Belgian Association for Fighting Cancer”, depending on the proven costs and family income of a cancer patient.
Some health insurances offer specific compensations. For this we refer you to the social services of your health insurance.
Some towns give a fee for palliative home care. This fee is between 198.38 and 272.68 euro and depends on the right to a palliative care fee. Just like this compensation it can be applied for twice at most.
Translation: Sara De Roy
Many thanks to:
Association without lucrative purpose Network Palliative care Ghent-Eeklo.