When medical care cannot offer a cure, hospice provides care, comfort and support for persons near the end of life, as well as for their family members. The hospice team works to make the person comfortable, relieve their symptoms and pain, and preserve dignity for the entire length of their illness.
What is hospice care?
Hospice care is end-of-life care for terminally ill patients. Usually, a person in hospice is expected to live six months or less, with no hope for a cure. The goal is to manage symptoms and enable patients to live life to the fullest as they prepare to die. The focus is on the individual and quality of life. Hospice care providers focus on making patients as comfortable as possibly treating pain and other symptoms and providing emotional and spiritual support to the patient and patient’s family.
The Medicare hospice benefit is available for patients for whom life expectancy is believed to be six months or less. Many health insurers follow this guideline. We encourage you to speak with your physician about the likely course of your illness to explore whether you qualify for hospice care.
Where is hospice care?
While most hospice care takes place at home, hospice care can be provided in many different settings:
- At home
- At a hospice center
- In a hospital
- In a skilled nursing facility
Who provides hospice care?
A hospice care team works with the patient and loved ones to develop a care plan to address individual need. A hospice care team can include:
- Home health aides
- Spiritual counselors
- Social workers