What Is Hospice Care, And Why You Might Need To Know

What Is Hospice Care, And Why You Might Need To Know:


Answering All Your Questions About Hospice Care

The American Cancer Society states that hospice care provides humane and compassionate care for people in the last phases of an incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible.  It’s an easy definition of a very complex issue. 

The more detailed definition is:  Hospice is a philosophy of care. The hospice philosophy or viewpoint accepts death as the final stage of life. The goal of hospice is to help patients live their last days as alert and pain-free as possible. Hospice care tries to manage symptoms so that a person’s last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice affirms life and neither hastens nor postpones death. Hospice care treats the person rather than the disease; it focuses on quality rather than length of life. Hospice care is family-centered — it includes the patient and the family in making decisions.

This care is planned to cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hospice care can be given in the patient’s home, a hospital, nursing home, or private hospice facility. Most hospice care in the United States is given in the home, with family members or friends serving as the main hands-on caregivers. Because of this, a patient getting home hospice care must have a caregiver in the home with them 24 hours a day

What services encompass hospice care?

Doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and trained volunteers care for you and your family. Each of these people offers support based on their special areas of expertise. Together, they give you and your loved ones complete palliative care aimed at relieving symptoms and giving social, emotional, and spiritual support.

Also included are pain and symptom control, spiritual care, home and inpatient care, respite care.  Family conferences can be used, along with volunteers and staff support.

Hospice care may take place in the home, hospice-based hospitals, long-term care facilities, or independently owned hospices.

Who pays for hospice care?

Home hospice care usually costs less than care in hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutional settings. This is because less high-cost technology is used and family and friends provide most of the care at home.

Medicare, Medicaid in most states, the Department of Veterans Affairs, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations pay for hospice care. Also, community contributions, memorial donations, and foundation gifts allow many hospices to give free services to patients who can’t afford payment. Some programs charge patients according to their ability to pay.


For further information, we suggest you read further items at the official website of the American Cancer Society at:  www.cancer.org.