What is Hospice?

What is Hospice?

Hospice is an approach in care that has greatly improved the way our society and particularly the medical community perceives end of life issues.

The philosophy of hospice is simple and compelling: Individuals with life-limiting medical conditions should be made as comfortable as possible, and have their quality of life maximized, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

In practice, hospice focuses on managing and alleviating pain and symptoms while maintaining the patient’s dignity. Hospice fosters a love and appreciation for family and life experiences, and helps patients accept their situation with hope and encouragement rather than despair. Because no two situations are alike, hospice caregivers coordinate a plan of care that is specifically designed to meet the needs of each individual.

As part of a comprehensive care approach, hospice care also addresses the logistical and emotional needs of the patient’s family. The hospice team of caregivers includes physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, therapists, volunteers – and most importantly – family members themselves.

Because it is an approach, not a place, hospice care can be provided at home, at an assisted living facility, at a long-term care setting, or even at a hospital.

Because hospice has become widely recognized as a preferred approach for end of life care, it is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans. Significantly, this includes not only the costs of caregiver services but also medications, medical equipment and medical supplies.

Who is it for?

People typically consider hospice care in situations of life limiting medical conditions. The following are indicators that you or someone you love may be a candidate for hospice care:

  • Frequent hospitalization

  • Frequent doctor or emergency room visits

  • Experiences shortness of breath even without exertion

  • Significant weight loss

  • Needs assistance with 2 or more ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living): Eating, Bathing, Dressing, Walking, Getting in/out of bed, Toileting

  • Diagnosed with a limited life expectancy

  • Disinterest in continuing aggressive treatments