Both palliative care and hospice care
provide comfort. But palliative care can begin at diagnosis, and at
the same time as treatment. Hospice care begins after treatment of
the disease is stopped and when it is clear that the person is not
going to survive the illness.
At the center of hospice and
palliative care is the belief that each of us has the right to die
pain-free and with dignity, and that our families will receive the
necessary support to allow us to do so.The hospice team provides
care to patients in their own home or a home-like setting regardless
of the patientís age or ability to pay.
What is Hospice Care?
Hospice care is a covered service under Medicare Part A.
insurance companies have hospice benefits.Check your policy or with
your local agent to determine the provisions of your policy.
The goal of hospice careis to enable you to have an alert,
pain-free life Ö to live each day as fully as possible.
affirms life and views death as a natural process. Considered to be
the model for quality, compassionate care for people facing a
life-limiting illness or injury, hospice care involve a
team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and
emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient's
needs and wishes. Support is provided to the patient' s loved ones
How does Hospice
Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when
appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual.
Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the
patient and provide additional are or other services. Hospice staff
is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient's
individual needs for pain management and symptom control. The team
usually consists of:
The patient' s personal physician;
Hospice physician (or medical director);
Home health aides;
Clergy or other counselors
Trained volunteers; and
Speech, physical, and occupational therapists, if needed.
Hospice Team Responsibilities
Manages the patientís pain and symptoms;
Assists the patient with the emotional and psychosocial and
spiritual aspects of dying;
Provides needed drugs, medical supplies, and equipment;
Coaches the family on how to care for the patient;
Delivers special services like speech and physical therapy when
Makes short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms
become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs
respite time; and
Provides bereavement care and counseling to surviving family and
Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and, in most cases, care is
provided in the patient's home. Hospice care also is provided in
freestanding hospice centers, hospitals, and nursing homes and other
long-term care facilities.
Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion,
race, or illness. Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid,
most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care
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