Learn about Hospice Care
Hospice care provides pain and symptom relief to individuals in the end stage of life. It does not try to prolong life. Rather, hospice workers and volunteers help clients live their remaining days in comfort and dignity.
What is hospice care?
Hospice care emphasizes pain relief instead of treatment; it is an option only in the end stage of life. A team of nurses and other health care professionals and trained, caring volunteers provide support and guidance in dealing with the physical and emotional aspects of dying. Depending on the needs and wishes of the individual and his/her family, hospice care can include counseling and support, home and personal care assistance, and spiritual care. Individuals and their families participate fully in caregiving decisions and can opt at any time to return to more traditional medical care.
Hospice care is usually provided in the client’s home but sometimes at a residential facility. It is usually offered to individuals who expect to live months rather than years.
How do I select a hospice program?
Hospice services are available only to individuals who have come to a mutual decision with their doctor to enter a hospice program. Usually, the doctor continues to oversee his or her client’s care.
The Hospice Foundation of America and the The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization offer resources for locating and learning about hospice programs. Before you contact a hospice program, you may wish to print copies of GetCare’s Hospice Checklist. It includes detailed questions to help you choose a hospice program that meets your needs and wishes.
How do I pay for hospice care?
Many health insurance plans cover hospice care, and most hospice programs offer a sliding fee scale that makes care affordable for anyone. Medicare is a payment option when a doctor has certified that an individual is not expected to live more than six months. Medicare may also pay for hospice-related medication and home care services. Some states provide Medicaid assistance in covering hospice costs.