Understanding Hospice

Understanding Hospice
Care Master | Independent Living
3 Min

Understanding Hospice

Hospice is a type of health care that specializes in the needs of individuals who are nearing end of life. Hospice takes into account the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of their patients, while providing guidance, education and counseling to their family members. The biggest distinction between Hospice and other forms of healthcare is that Hospice does not aim to treat an individual, but rather focuses on pain and symptom management and supporting the highest quality of life possible for the patient. To qualify for Hospice, an individual must have a life-limiting illness and be expected to live six months or less.

Hospice services are typically received at home and comprise of a team of skilled individuals who assist the patient and family in a multitude of ways. These include;

  • Doctors-Every Hospice patient will be under the care oversight of a Physician, whether they choose their Primary Care Doctor or the Hospice Physician.
  • Nurses- Hospice Nurses often act as RN Case Managers, coordinating care for an individual, providing education and monitoring for pain.
  • Home health aides- Home health aides provide extra support for routine care, such as bathing and grooming.
  • Spiritual counselors- Chaplains, priests, lay ministers or other spiritual counselors can provide spiritual care and guidance for the entire family.
  • Social workers-Social workers provide counseling and support. They can also provide referrals to other support systems.
  • Volunteers-Trained volunteers offer a variety of services, including providing companionship or respite for caregivers.
  • Bereavement Services- Trained bereavement counselors offer support and guidance after the death of a loved one in hospice.

What are some features of Hospice?

  • RN/Physician oversight and 24/7 on-call services
  • Medications related to the patient’s diagnosis and comfort are provided
  • Medical Equipment (DME) necessary for the care of the patient are provided
  • Respite services for caregivers

How is Hospice Care Paid For?

Medicare covers all aspects of Hospice Care. There is no deductible for Hospice Services. Small fees may apply for certain prescriptions and hourly respite care. Hospice care also is covered by most private health insurance, and in almost every state, by Medicaid.