What is Hospice?
Hospice, also known as End-of-Life Care, is a service that provides symptomatic care for individuals who may be within a 6-month life expectancy due to a life-threatening illness. Sometimes an individual may realize treatments aren't helping cure or slow the disease. It may be possible that medical intervention is too stressful due to age or lack of tolerance. In this case, comfort care may be the best alternative. Hospice services can provide care in any setting (e.g., home, nursing home, assisted living facility, or inpatient hospital).
How Does Hospice Work?
Hospice brings together a team of professionals with unique skills - nurses, doctors, social workers, spiritual advisors, and trained volunteers. Everyone works together with the patient, caretaker, and family to provide the medical, emotional, and spiritual support needed.
A member of the hospice team visits regularly, and someone is always available by phone - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Medicare and other insurance companies may cover hospice; you should check to see if insurance will cover your particular situation.
What if I'm Not Ready for Hospice?
Suppose you don't qualify for hospice or choose not to utilize hospice services. In this case, you may be eligible for a similar service called palliative care. Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life and reduce the symptoms of anyone with a severe illness, regardless of life expectancy. Unlike hospice, a patient may receive palliative care and curative care at the same time. You can learn more about palliative care by clicking here.