Hospice care most often takes place at home, but it can also be provided in special in-patient facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes.
To be eligible for hospice care under most insurance plans, patients must have a life expectancy of 6 months or less and sign a statement choosing hospice care. Hospice expenses may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or other health insurance plans.
Hospice is a special type of care in which medical, psychological, and spiritual support are provided to patients and their loved ones when cancer therapies are no longer controlling the disease. Hospice care focuses on controlling pain and other symptoms of illness so patients can remain as comfortable as possible near the end of life. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing. The goal is to neither hasten nor postpone death. If the patient’s condition improves or the cancer goes into remission, hospice care can be discontinued and active treatment may resume. Choosing hospice care doesn’t mean giving up. It just means that the goal of treatment has changed.The hospice team usually includes doctors, nurses, home health aides, social workers, clergy or other counselors, and trained volunteers. The team may also include speech, physical, and occupational therapists, if needed. A hospice team member is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support. The hospice team will work with the patient on the patient’s goals for end-of-life care, not a predetermined plan or scenario. Hospice care is very individualized.Hospice services may include doctor or nursing care, medical supplies and equipment, home health aide services, short-term respite (relief) services for caregivers, drugs to help manage cancer-related symptoms, spiritual support and counseling, and social work services. Patients’ families are also an important focus of hospice care, and services are designed to give them assistance and support.
Hospice care most often takes place at home. However, hospice care can also be delivered in special in-patient facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes.
How can people get help paying for hospice services?
Information about the types of costs covered by a particular private policy is available from a hospital business office or hospice social worker, or directly from the insurance company.
Local civic, charitable, or religious organizations may also be able to help patients and their families with hospice expenses.
What is the difference between hospice and palliative care?
1–877–658–8896 (multilingual line)
http://www.caringinfo.org The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Caring Connections website offers information and publications focused on improving end-of-life care for adults and children. The site includes a database of national hospice programs. Some Spanish-language publications are available.
Hospice Association of America
The Hospice Association of America distributes publications on such topics as the history of hospice, the benefits of hospice, hospice-related statistics, and locations of hospice organizations.
Hospice Education Institute
The Hospice Education Institute operates HOSPICELINK, a toll-free telephone service that provides referrals to hospice and palliative care programs in the United States. HOSPICELINK also provides information about the principles and practices of good hospice and palliative care.
Hospice Net provides information and support to patients facing life-threatening illnesses and to their families and friends.
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society (ACS) provides free fact sheets and publications about hospice. The address of a local ACS chapter can be obtained by calling the organization’s toll-free telephone number.