Hospice care helps the terminally ill and their families make the most of the last days, weeks, or months of their lives. Rooted in the word “hospitality,” hospice is not a place, but a philosophy of care that embraces death as a natural part of life, and seeks to help patients meet this end with grace and dignity. This means comforting the patient physically and emotionally while supporting their loved ones as they navigate end of life decisions. Below are answers to common questions about hospice care:
Palliative medicine helps patients who are suffering from serious chronic illnesses alleviate their symptoms, maximize their independence and coordinate their care. Hospice is designed to bring security, dignity, physical comfort, pain relief and emotional support for people who are approaching end of life.
Hospice care is generally intended for those who are terminally ill and likely to die within six months. A doctor’s referral is generally all that’s needed for a patient to become eligible for hospice services. In the U.S., 40% of patients receive hospice care at home.
The primary focus of hospice care is maintaining the patient’s quality of life. This may involve the following services:
In addition to the patient’s loved ones, doctors, nurses, home health aides, counselors, and others are involved in care as needed.
While patients can receive hospice care in hospitals, long term care communities, and specialized hospice centers, most people elect to receive hospice care at home.
Broadly speaking, the paperwork required for hospice enrollment includes the following:
Update: January 2018