What is Hospice Care?

Caring for a loved one that has a life expectancy of six months or less can be emotionally draining and logistically complicated for all involved. However, you can find help and relief through hospice. Hospice is a specialized type of care for those facing a life-limiting illness, as well as their families and caregivers. Review the information below to help you determine if and when your aging loved one may need hospice care.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice caregivers help to control pain, in order to provide peace, comfort, and dignity to the recipient of care as much as possible. Hospice programs also provide services to support the family as well. Hospice supports patients with a terminal illness and their families by providing services such as:

  • Pain management and help with problems breathing or swallowing
  • Routine visits by a nurse or hospice staff
  • Medication and other medical supplies
  • Overall coordination of a patient’s needs and care with in-home and hospital support
  • Emotional and spiritual support for the patient, family, and caregivers

Overall, hospice focuses on caring, not curing, and in most cases care is provided in the patient’s home.

What a Hospice Care Team Looks Like

You and your family members are the most important part of a team that may also include:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses or nurse practitioners
  • Counselors
  • Social workers
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Hospice aides
  • Homemakers
  • Volunteers

Consult with your physician and your insurance provider about the need for hospice care, or hospice options. The services available are there to help and guide you through a difficult time.

Discussing end-of-life care options can be difficult for many. To help you get started, follow our four step plan to discuss end-of-life care with your aging loved ones, which can be found in our blog Discussing End-of-Life Care.

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