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What is hospice?
It is a unique health care approach in which the patient and family are the focal point, not the disease, focusing on the quality of life for patients experiencing a life-limiting illness. The hospice care team consists of physicians, nurses, medical aides, social workers, spiritual specialists, and emotional specialists. The care team’s planning accommodates the patient’s and loved ones’ medical, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs. The hospice team is specially trained in end-of-life care, which can be provided anywhere the patient calls home, whether that’s assisted living, a nursing home or a private residence. Hospice care can also be provided in hospitals and facilities that cater to hospice patients.
Watch this video from our friends at Wolters Kluwer and the Lippincott Nursing Center:

Benefits of hospice

Hospice relieves suffering, promotes dignity, and facilitates closure for patients and families. Surveys have found that families of people who received care through a hospice program are more satisfied with end-of-life care than those who did not have hospice services. Also, hospice recipients are more likely to have their pain controlled and less likely to undergo tests or be given medicines they don't need, compared with people who don't use hospice care.

A variety of support services are offered in addition to pain and symptom management. Support services for patients and their loved ones include: education, emotional and spiritual support, assistance with financial issues, help with the patient’s personal care and hygiene, and respite care to give family caregivers a break of up to 5 days.

Comparing Palliative & Hospice Care

Hospice and palliative care both offer relief from the pain and symptoms of a serious illness. They also address the emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families. In fact, hospice is a type of palliative care for people at the final stages of life. Common diagnoses include; cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), advanced dementia, heart failure, Huntington’s disease, kidney disease, liver disease, organ failure, Parkinson’s disease, AIDS, ALS/Lou Gehrig’s, advanced Multiple Sclerosis, and stroke.

Hospice Care

Because of Medicare requirements, hospice is typically utilized by patients with a life expectancy of six months or less. A patient's doctor and a hospice medical director work together to determine life expectancy.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is for people at any stage of illness. The illness is not required to be life-limiting. Like hospice, palliative care addresses a patient's physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs.

What services are offered during hospice or palliative care?

  • Medication management
  • Physician supervision
  • Spiritual therapy
  • Emotional therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Pet therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Family counseling
  • Wound care
  • IV hydration
  • Enteral therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Housekeeping

What questions should I ask when looking for hospice services?

Finding good hospice services can be confusing. To help, here are some things to ask about before picking your provider:

Services: What medical expenses will we be responsible for? Will home supplies be provided?

Protocols: “What protocols are in place for the team when a medical emergency arises?" “How will medications be managed?” “How does the transition of care happen when we choose hospice?"

Specialized services: "Do you specialize in the care we need? Do you offer both palliative and hospice care?"

Reputation: "How have past patients and their families rated you?"

Credentials: “What credentials do you require for your hospice team?”

GuidingPatients knows how emotionally and physically draining the hospice process can be. That's why we made it easy to find all of the information needed to make an informed decision. We want our patients to feel comfortable and have the best medical care.

Try our advanced search to find hospice providers near you.