What is hospice care?
The focus of hospice care is to provide life-enhancing care – not a cure – usually in the patient’s home. Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans will cover the cost of hospice care.
How does hospice care work?
In most cases, one of the patient’s family members will serve as a primary caregiver. The hospice team provides ongoing assessment and additional care on a regular basis. Each patient’s plan of care is different, and designed to meet the particular needs of that patient and his or her family. Hospice is available on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Who is on the interdisciplinary hospice team?
- The patient’s own physician;
- Hospice physician (or medical director);
- Registered Nurses and other skilled nurses;
- Home health aides and nursing assistants;
- Social workers;
- Clergy or other counselors
- Trained volunteers; and
- Speech, physical, and occupational therapists, if needed.
What services are provided?
- Management of the patient’s pain and symptoms;
- Assistance to the patient with the emotional and psychosocial and spiritual aspects of dying;
- Supply of drugs, medical supplies, and equipment;
- Education to the patient’s family on how to care for the patient;
- Delivery of special services like speech and physical therapy when needed;
- Making short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time; and
- Bereavement support and counseling to the patient’s surviving family and friends.