What You Need to Know About Hospice Care
The idea of hospice care makes many people nervous. It feels like someone on hospice is giving up, and no one wants to do that. For that reason, many put it off too long, which can cause a lot of needless pain, both physical and emotional.
Hospice care is based on an ancient hospice care provider tradition. Travelers on a pilgrimage would be offered hospitality along the way. Many were tired and ill. In the sixties, the term was applied to specialized care for those who are dying. The philosophy is that people in the last weeks to months…and their families…need assistance.
Those on hospice have a team of professional and lay people taking care of them. To provide quality of life, pain management is handled by doctors and nurses. Counselors help both the patient and the family. Clergy is made available for those who need it, based on the faith of the patient. Therapists and trained volunteers will also be available.
Most people in the program do so in the home, though it can be done in hospitals, specialized centers, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Because the primary caregiver is likely to be a relative, the program makes sure they can have a respite. They can take up to five days as needed.
Family conferences are scheduled so that everyone can be kept up to date on what is happening. They will also say what to expect, and provide bereavement counseling.
One thing that worries people trying to make the decision is that it is permanent. That isn’t true. If something causes remission, or a new treatment is designed and the patient improves, they can stop the program. They can resume it at any time, as needed. Hospice is not about giving up, it’s about quality of life.
Another question frequently asked is “how is this program paid for?” Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance cover the bill, so that money doesn’t have to be a concern. In fact, Medicare certified programs must provide round the clock nursing, pharmacy and doctor services to make sure your needs are met.