Hospice care provides medical services, emotional support, and spiritual resources for people who are in the last stages of a serious illness, such as cancer or heart failure. Hospice care focuses on comfort and quality of life, rather than cure. Hospice care also helps family members manage the practical details and emotional challenges of caring for a dying loved one. Hospice care affirms life and views death as a natural process.
Hospice care is appropriate for those who have a limited prognosis of 12 months or less. Some people think that starting hospice is a last resort that it means they're giving up on life. Some think that hospice means a lower level of medical care, but hospice is simply a type of care that focuses on the quality of your life instead of continuing with treatment to prolong your life.
Hospice services usually include:
• Basic medical care with a focus on pain and symptom control.
• Access to a member of your hospice team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
• Medical supplies and equipment as needed.
• Counseling and social support to help you and your family with psychological,
emotional, and spiritual issues.
• Guidance with the difficult, but normal issues of life completion and closure.
• A break (respite care) for caregivers, family, and others who regularly care for you.
• Volunteer support, such as preparing meals and running errands.
• Counseling and support for your loved ones after death.
Hospice care facilities must provide certain services, they tend to have different approaches to service, staffing patterns, and types of support services offered.
Hospice coverage is provided by Medicare, Medicaid and by most private health insurance policies. Medicare and/or Medicaid are the most frequent sources of payment. Both will pay at 100% for medication relating to the terminal diagnosis, equipment needed for comfort and safety (hospital bed, bedside commode and wheelchair, etc) and the services of the Hospice care team.