Everything Hospice – What you should know

Hospice may be different from what you think it is. We have found that there are many misperceptions. This post is the first in a series on helping you understand everything about Hospice.


Today we would like to help clarify what it is and what it is not. We hope that this article helps you in determining if Hospice is right for you or your family, if the need should arise.


Hospice Defined:
“Hospice is a holistic approach to caring for people who are terminally ill. It involves a team of trained professionals, available 24 hours a day, who provide medical attention, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support tailored to an individual’s needs and wishes. It’s not a place — it’s a concept of care that can be provided anywhere. Along with attending to the patient, hospice teams also provide compassion and support to grieving loved ones during the illness and beyond.”


Anyone can receive Hospice care, regardless of they type of illness, ethnicity, age, gender or financial status. In order to qualify for Hospice, a physician must give the individual a prognosis of six months or less, and the individual must certify that he or she doesn’t wish to pursue curative treatment. Hospice caregivers and physicians will work closely with your doctor to determine the best plan of care.


How Hospice Works
The physician makes a referral to hospice. Hospice staff conduct an assessment of the patient’s overall needs and establish a care team. Together with the primary caregiver and the patient, the Hospice care team will outline an appropriate care plan.


There are many services available to a patient when he/she enters hospice care. These include: physician services, nurse home visits, counseling services, medical equipment, medical supplies, pain management and symptom control, and volunteer support to assist caregivers and family members.


A hospice nurse and doctor are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to give you and your family support and care when you need it.


A hospice doctor is part of your medical team. Your regular doctor or a nurse practitioner can also be part of this team as the attending medical professional to supervise your care.


Most hospice patients get hospice care in the comfort of their home and with their families. Depending on your condition, you may also get hospice care in a Medicare-approved hospice facility, hospital, nursing home, or other long-term care facility.


Hospice care is provided in addition to the standard care received in a skilled nursing facility or a residential care facility. The hospice team delivers specialized services for end-of-life care.


Considerations when choosing a Hospice Organization:
According to Medicare.gov, it is important to consider the following aspects when selecting a hospice organization:

  • Is the hospice program certified and licensed by the state or federal government?
  • Does the hospice provider train caregivers to care for you at home?
  • How will your doctor work with the doctor in the hospice program?
  • How many other patients are assigned to each member of the hospice care staff?
  • Will the hospice staff meet regularly with you and your family to discuss care?
  • How does the hospice staff respond to after-hour emergencies?
  • What measures are in place to ensure hospice care quality?
  • What services do hospice volunteers offer? Are they trained?


We hope you find this information helpful to you. In our next blog post, we will share myths about Hospice.


Our blog series includes the following topics:

  • What is Hospice? How It Works and Selecting a Hospice Organization that is right for you.
  • Myths about Hospice
    Hospice services for family, friends and caregivers of the patient
  • Hospice Volunteering

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