What is Hospice Care? Common Questions Answered

Black man visiting his father at the hospital

Coming to terms with the realization that a loved one’s illness is serious enough that they need hospice care can be stressful, overwhelming, and emotionally challenging. Talking with family about end-of-life care can be even more difficult.

Most people are unfamiliar with hospice care, are overwhelmed by the need, and have many questions and concerns. Here are some of the most common questions we hear about hospice care.

What is hospice care?

Hospice is a specialized form of healthcare designed to support and comfort people in the final stages of a terminal illness, as well as their families. The goal is to ensure the highest quality of life possible by managing pain and symptoms, offering emotional and psychological support, and providing spiritual guidance if desired.

Who is eligible for hospice care?

Patients with a life-limiting prognosis of six months or less, as determined by a healthcare provider, are eligible for hospice care.

What services are provided in hospice?

Hospice care offers a wide range of services depending on the patient’s and their family’s needs. Generally, hospice patients have access to: 

  • Medication management
  • Grief and loss counseling for family and caregivers
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Assistance with bathing and other personal care
  • Assistance with advanced care planning

Services are provided by a range of specialists. Care is overseen by a doctor and provided by nurses, aides, therapists, dietitians, social workers, and others.

Does hospice mean you’re “giving up?”

One of the most common misconceptions about hospice care is that patients and family members are giving up hope. The reality is that hospice patients receive highly specialized care from a team of professionals whose sole focus is on the individual rather than the disease.   

The goal is to minimize and control symptoms and manage pain aggressively. In fact, some hospice patients improve and live longer in hospice care because their quality of life has improved. If this occurs, the patient can be discharged from hospice and may resume regular medical care.

Where does hospice care take place?

Hospice care can be provided in a hospital, nursing home, senior living community, hospice center, hospital, or the patient’s home. The location depends on various factors, including the patient’s preferences and their medical requirements. For example, some patients may need a hospital bed and other supplies such as a lift or transfer device, oxygen equipment, a commode, or a wheelchair.  

How do people benefit from hospice care?

One of the most valuable benefits of hospice care is the emotional and psychological support and care provided for patients and their families. Other benefits include:

  • Personalized care plans
  • Less expensive and disruptive than hospital stays and ER visits
  • A peaceful and caring environment
  • Professional support 24/7
  • Gives patients a sense of comfort and dignity

Does insurance cover hospice?

Medicare may cover all the costs associated with hospice for people who meet specific eligibility requirements. Medicaid coverage for hospice care varies by state, and private insurance plans vary depending on your healthcare policy.

How LifeCare Advocates can help

Hospice professionals focus on enhancing the quality of life for patients during their final stages of life with a range of services that address their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. At LifeCare Advocates, we have supported many clients through hospice care, providing assistance to the patient and their loved ones. Our presence can provide a much-needed sense of comfort and continuity as our client faces their final days.

Categories: Caregiving