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Hospice Care

When facing a terminal illness, many families find that hospice care is a peaceful, reassuring, and supportive form of healthcare.The focus is always on controlling pain, managing symptoms and providing comfort, dignity, and a gracious quality of life.

Hospice provides medical, emotional, and spiritual support to patients and their families when a terminal illness no longer responds to medications or treatments. Hospice care neither prolongs life, nor hastens death, but strives to control symptoms and pain.

Most patients qualify for hospice care upon entering the last phase of a terminal illness, and after receiving a prognosis of 6 months or less.

A patient may receive hospice care as long as their doctor and the hospice medical director or other hospice doctors continue to certify that they are terminally ill and probably have 6 months or less to live. However, if the patient lives beyond the initial six months, he or she can continue receiving hospice care as long as the attending physician recertifies that the patient is terminally ill.

The family receives bereavement care for at least one year. The patient, family, and or physician can initiate an information referral call or visit as soon as a terminal disease is diagnosed, or at the same time a patient decides to move from a treatment plan focused on curing the disease to a plan focused on providing comfort and pain relief.

Hospice care usually takes place in the comfort of an individual's home, but can be provided in any environment in which a person lives, including a nursing home, assisted living facility, or residential care facility.

The Medicare benefit, and most private insurance, pays for hospice care as long as the patient continues to meets the criteria necessary. Under Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMO's, and other managed care organizations include hospice care as a benefit.

At some point in our lives we may be faced with a terminal illness, or someone we know may need assistance through hospice care. Hospice should be embraced and understood that this is the comforting stage of the patients life. It is the time to enjoy loved ones without having to make decisions on treatments. It is the time to let go of sadness and focus on love and support. It is the time to reunite with the outside world and find comfort within yourself. By all means it is the time for compassion.

If you know of a caregiver that can use the support of hospice care, a list of facilities may be available in your state.


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