Want to know more about hospice care?

We know: How Hospice Care Works

What is hospice care?

Hospice care is designed to help a terminally ill patient and family through the final stages of life, usually when the person is expected to die within six months or less. Its purpose is to assist patients in remaining alert and pain-free during the final days of their illness and to keep their loved ones close.

Hospice care is intended to provide care for the patient and the patient's family 24-hours a day, 7-days-a-week.

Who offers hospice care?

Many healthcare agencies and healthcare facilities in your community will have a hospice program as part of the services they provide. Some will be Medicare-certified, so ask if that is a concern.

Where is hospice care provided?

Hospice care is often available in these settings:

  1. Home - Most patients and families in the U.S. choose this setting for hospice care.
  2. Hospitals - Many offer hospice programs.
  3. Long-term Care Facilities - Nursing homes and other similar facilities often have hospice programs.
  4. Independent Hospice Facilities - Facilities specializing in hospice care, they often have both home and onsite care.

Who are the primary caregivers?

The primary caregivers are usually members of the patient's family.

Who makes the decision to enter a hospice program?

Usually, the patient, the patient's family and the doctor determine if a hospice program is right.

What are the basic elements of hospice care?

  • Team Approach. Hospice care usually provides a team of doctors, nurses, health aides, social workers, counselors, clergy, and trained volunteers to help support the patient and the family. The team works together, taking care of both the patient and family needs.
  • Pain and Symptom Relief. The object of hospice care is to manage the patient's symptoms and pain in order to make the patient more comfortable and keep the patient alert.
  • Spiritual Component. This is often an important part of hospice care for both the patient and the family, to assist in saying good-bye.
  • Giving the Family a Rest. Because the primary hospice caregiver is usually a family member or members, the hospice program provides for ways to give the family members time away, often by moving the patient to an in patient facility for a few days.
  • Grief Counseling. Hospice programs are designed to help family members through the grief process.

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