Hospice Care

Hospice Care is a special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families. Patients are referred to hospice when their life expectancy is approximately six months or less. This type of specialized care can continue longer than six months if needed, but usually requires physician certification.

Here are some additional facts that you need to know:

  • This special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments.
  • It neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Hospice staff and volunteers offer a specialized knowledge of medical care, including pain management.
  • The goal is to improve the quality of a patient's last days by offering comfort and dignity.
  • Care is provided by a team-oriented group of specially trained professionals, volunteers and family members.
  • The providers are able to address all symptoms of a disease, with a special emphasis on controlling a patient's pain and discomfort.
  • This type of care deals with the emotional, social and spiritual impact of the disease on the patient and the patient's family and friends.
  • There are a variety of bereavement and counseling services available to families before and after a patient's death.
  • Care can also be administered in homes. It is physician ordered for end of life patients.

When choosing an organization, you need to carefully consider all aspects of your family situation.  Make sure that both the patient and family are comfortable with all of those involved.  Hospice care can be provided in any location, it is your choice.  Make sure you address all of your concerns and needs with the team providing the care.  If they are unable to meet some of these needs, they can help you expand the team.  The family is encouraged to be involved in hospice care, so don’t be afraid to figure out what each family member can contribute.  Hospices can also provide help in the day-to-day activities of the family, to give them an opportunity to take a "break".

Hospice may vary in each State, depending on how this type of care is regulated and licensed:

  • In Alabama, Hospice Programs are licensed to provide a coordinated program of home outpatient and inpatient care to meet the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of persons in the final stage of life. Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurers pay for this type of specialized care, which is coordinated by a physician-directed team. Pharmaceuticals, personal care and medical equipment may be provided.
  • In Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Health Hospice is a Medicare certified, state licensed program to provide a special caring service to patients who have a terminal illness in their home. Care is provided through a physician guided interdisciplinary group of nurses, home health aides, social workers, counselors, and volunteers to patients and their families. The program also covers medications, medical equipment, and provides bereavement to the family/caregiver after the patient dies. Hospice is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • In Illinois, it is a coordinated program of home and inpatient care providing directly, or through agreement, palliative and supportive medical, health and other services to terminally ill patients and their families. A full Hospice utilizes a medically directed interdisciplinary team of professionals and volunteers. The program provides care to meet the physical, psychological, social, spiritual and other special needs which are experienced during the final stages of illness and during dying and bereavement. Home care is to be provided on a part-time, intermittent, regularly scheduled basis, and on an on-call around-the-clock basis according to patient and family need. To the maximum extent possible, care shall be furnished in the patient's home. Should in-patient care be required, services are to be provided with the intent of minimizing the length of such care and shall only be provided in a hospital licensed under the Hospital Licensing Act, or a skilled nursing facility licensed under the Nursing Home Care Act.
  • In Minnesota, the Hospice program includes palliative and supportive care and other services provided by an interdisciplinary team under the direction of an identifiable Hospice administration to terminally ill Hospice patients and their families to meet the physical, nutritional, emotional, social, spiritual, and special needs experienced during the final stages of illness, dying, and bereavement. Hospice is centrally coordinated program that ensures continuity and consistency of home and inpatient care provided directly or through an agreement.

You can find out more about how Hospice is licensed and regulated in each State by viewing the State Licensing information for each State.

Try our Advanced Search to find options for Hospice Care. Enter a city and state or zip code and then select the Hospice Care section or even just specific types of Hospice Care. Remember that hospice providers come to you, so you might want to perform a broader search to find more options.

Additional Information:

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