Hospice care is something many have heard of but truly know what it is. Medical care during the final stages of life is often invasive and traumatic, forcing a patient to move from home to hospital to nursing facility and back again, over and over. This usually results in unnecessary pain and discomfort with no significant benefit for the person. What is lost in this process is comprehensive care for the overall well-being; control of pain and other symptoms, and a comfortable, peaceful setting for the patient and family.

Hospice care responds to this need of “end of life” care. Hospice provides care designed for people who are in the last six months of a terminal illness, sometimes it provides car for much longer. Hospice replaces regular medical care. Instead of continuing with efforts to cure a disease, or attempting top briefly prolong life, hospice offers a coordinated plan that pays special attention to a patient’s comfort, including calibrated relief from pain and other symptoms. This can mean a considerable improvement in a patient’s quality of life during the last stages of a terminal illness that has a focus on the patient rather than on the disease. It cam also bring great relief to the patient’s family and other caregivers.

Hospice offers physicians, nursing and home health care as well as drugs, medical equipment, counseling and homemaker services. It also directly addresses the needs of the patient’s family or other non-paid caregivers, including respite care which offers caregivers some temporary relief from their responsibilities.

Hospice does not supply a residence or living arrangement. Caregivers deliver hospice care wherever a patient lives, whether at home or in an assisted living or nursing facility. Hospice’s comprehensive comfort care sometimes makes it possible for a patient to leave a hospital or nursing facility and return home to be cared for. On the other side, someone living at home can be moved to a hospice inpatient facility, or a special hospice section of a hospital or nursing facility. Medicare pays for almost all of hospice care. The patient only pays small co-payments. Medicaid and most private health insurance also offer hospice coverage.

Because of this almost total coverage by both private and government sponsored health insurance, hospice is an option that can be considered by most at the appropriate time. If you are someone supporting aging parents nearing the end of life, this may be a good option. find a caregiver