Taking a Closer Look at Hospice Care

Hospice is a type of treatment that focuses on the relief of the symptoms of a terminally ill patient. It is unique because it focuses on careā€”not cure; during the final months and days of life, the aim is to provide comfort. It serves the needs of the family as a whole not just of the patient.
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A team of health care professionals who develop a holistic care plan that addresses pain and comfort, as well as physical, mental, social and spiritual needs, provide hospice care services; it can be given as long as the doctor and hospice care team of a patient certify that the condition of the patient remains life-limiting (life expectancy is usually 6 months or less). Members of the hospice team will make daily visits to his home whenever a patient wishes to receive hospice treatment at home. However at hospitals, nursing homes and dedicated hospice services, it is also available. A primary care doctor and the medical director of the hospice program can supervise the end-of-life care of a patient; nurses can address end-of-life symptom management and concerns; home health aides will offer extra support for routine care; spiritual counselors provide spiritual guidance for the entire family; social workers provide counseling and support and help address benefits and The patient, his family and friends, too are valuable team members.
Hospice treatment can be paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs and private insurers. While each hospice program has its own payment for care policy, services are mostly given based on need rather than the ability to pay. Prior to choosing a hospice service, be sure to inquire about payment choices. Contact your doctor, your state or local health department, your state hospice group, your spiritual leader, or a home health care provider to find out about hospice services in your area.