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About Hospice and Palliative Care - Definition of Hospice
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Definition of Hospice

Hospice provides an interdisciplinary team of a doctor, nurse, social worker, chaplain (if desired), various therapists (as needed), and volunteers.  Hospice is paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, the VA System, and many private insurance carriers for individuals diagnosed by a physician as having six months or less to live who choose to forego further curative treatment.  Hospice helps families and the health care system know and respect the wishes of the terminally ill.  Available wherever a dying person calls home—including assisted living and nursing facilities, hospitals, and prisons—hospice assesses and addresses physical, social, spiritual and psychological issues to alleviate pain, symptoms, and suffering and improve the quality of life of those in their last months of life.

Hospice does not provide room and board services or serve as the on-site caregiver for a terminally ill person, but hospice provides regular visits and is available on call 24/7 to address and assist with needs and issues whenever they arise.  Hospice supports both the dying person and his/her family or other caregivers with practical expertise and education on pain and symptom management, living arrangements, identifying and meeting end-of-life wishes, the dying process and issues to expect, end-of-life financial considerations, relationship and spiritual issues, and access to respite care and other resources.  Hospice also provides bereavement support up to and beyond the first anniversary of a loved one’s death, a service many hospice programs extend to any community member, not just those whose loved one received hospice care.

Hospice listens.  Hospice addresses pain, symptoms, questions, and fears.  Hospice educates.  Hospice provides support and comfort.  Hospice consistently earns the highest satisfaction ratings in health care.

Did You Know?
Studies have shown hospice is less expensive than conventional care during the last six months of life.
Less high-cost technology is used, and family, friends and volunteers provide 90 percent of the day-to-day patient care at home.