The Truth About Hospice Care

The word hospice can be scary. It’s often automatically associated with the thought of a loved one passing. However, it does not mean death is necessarily in the immediate future. It is generally for those who are given six months or less to live, but it is not uncommon for patients to surpass this estimate. The goal of hospice is to ensure that the maximum amount of comfort is provided when it is needed most. Hospice care also extends services to the patient’s family through access to social workers and follow-up bereavement care.

The main goal of hospice is to provide as much comfort as possible, including the environment the patient will reside in. Many people worry about where they have to live in order to receive hospice care. Just like many health care services, hospice care has grown and expanded and can now be provided in virtually any setting. Hospice services can be provided in a community setting such as a hospice cottage or nursing home as well as in the patient’s home, including a traditional home, assisted living, independent living or an apartment.

When under hospice care, patients are often provided with benefits through Medicare that may be too expensive or too difficult to acquire without assistance. Some of these services include weekly nurse visits, bath-aides, respite care, medical supplies and equipment that can range from gauze to hospital beds provided in the patient’s home. It also covers certain medications depending on the necessity of each individual medication. Hospice care is also provided under Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue shield, Long Term Care, etc. and most private insurance companies. (Source: If your insurance company isn’t listed, give them a call and ask if they provide any hospice benefits.

Caring for a loved one at the end of life can be taxing on family caregivers, even with all the hospice benefits provided. Many people supplement hospice services with private duty home care to help ensure all the client’s needs are met. Some ways home care services can help under hospice care:

· Provide additional respite services so family caregivers can have relief from providing care to a loved one

· Provide personal care services (bathing, toileting, dressing, etc.) when the patient doesn’t have a family member available to provide the care or isn’t comfortable caring for the client

· Stay with the client for 24-hour care when the patient can no longer be left without care

· Advocate for client’s needs

· Provide companionship

Dealing with terminal illnesses is tough, but having the right services can help. When choosing end-of-life care, it’s important to know your options and benefits available in order to make the best of a tough and life changing situation. If you have any questions regarding hospice care, call us at (605) 275-2344.