Understanding Hospice Care

For those who are having their first experience with hospice care, you are already dealing with a lot emotionally and logistically. I would like to begin by saying: I am sorry you are having to do this, and I hope this discussion and website help, even if it is just a little bit. Hospice care can be difficult for everyone involved. It is a highly charged emotional situation to be in. One of the main changes in hospice is the change from rehabilitation and recovery to one of support and ideally peacefulness. It should aim to reduce or remove as much physical pain as possible while recognizing and respecting the emotional difficulty of the new reality before you.
Hospice can take place at home or in a location designed specifically for the purpose.

Hospice is typically for people with an expected end-of-life within six months, though this may vary depending on the location and each patient's unique case. Terminal illness is the main factor.

Regardless, the primary goal is almost always pain management and aiding in the comfort of the patient emotionally, physically, and spiritually if desired.

Often there are physical and mental clues that may help one decide it is time for hospice. Along with a terminal diagnosis: if a patient begins to lose a significant amount of weight, is having difficulty breathing, is in unbearable pain, is no longer eating, refusing medication, may indicate it is time to consider hospice care.

Hospice care teams include a wide array of professionals. Besides nurses, physicians, social workers, and other nursing and care aides, they often include spiritual counselors, music therapists, family support staff, and more.

Medicare and/or Medicaid will often cover the majority of costs.