What is Hospice?
Hospice is a program of care and support for the terminally ill and their families. It is focused on comfort and not on curing a life-limiting illness. The care team, which is comprised of your physician, a hospice medical director, registered nurses, home health aides, social workers, spiritual and bereavement coordinators and hospice volunteers, provides comprehensive interdisciplinary medical care.
When & Why Should We Consider Hospice?
Hospice provides patients with compassionate care and allows caregivers to make the most out of the time they have with their loved one. Hospice should be considered when a person with an advanced illness is seeking comfort and an improved quality of life or when: a physician determines that a patient’s prognosis to live is six months or less; or the patient’s condition remains life-limiting.
Hospice is also recommended when a patient decides to stop aggressive treatment or when that treatment is no longer effective. During the last stages of an illness, hospice can prevent multiple trips to the ER or hospital. If your loved one has a terminal or advanced illness and is experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms, you may want to consider hospice care:
- Decline in overall health and an inability to perform daily tasks without assistance
- Progressive weakness
- Frequent hospitalization
- Uncontrolled pain
- Significant weight loss Shortness of breath
- Change in mental status
Hospice Quick Facts
- Hospice is a philosophy of care.
- Typically, hospice services are given in the patient’s home or wherever a patient calls “home,” such as an assisted living facility, personal care home, skilled nursing facility or hospital.
- Hospice is a benefit provided by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances, to improve the quality of care.
- Hospice enables patients to live with as much comfort and dignity as possible.
- Hospice is support for your caregiver, not in place of your caregiver.