Hospice care embodies a philosophy of care focused primarily on treating and assisting patients nearing the end of life. Rather than concentrating on curative care, hospice care helps to aide patients with treatment of pain as well as other difficult or uncomfortable symptoms which they may face. Hospice care consists of a combination of medical treatment, symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support which is personalized for each individual’s specific needs.
Hospice is a unique form of care in that it is most commonly provided within the comfort of a patient’s home. However, hospice may also be delivered in additional settings such as in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, hospitals, and other long-term care facilities. This type of care allows patients to continue living in a comfortable and familiar environment surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones.
Hospice usually comes at a time when a patient can no longer benefit from standard curative treatment and therefore the standard care plan typically emphasizes making the patient as comfortable as possible in their preferred setting. Furthermore, hospice gives the patient the choice to have full control over all aspects of their care within their own home. Hospice care regards dying as a natural process and helps prepare both patients and family members for a peaceful death while preserving dignity.
Hospice care is available to patients of any age, gender, race, or religion and is covered under Medicare and Medicaid in most states as well as most Health Maintenance Organizations, Managed Care Organizations, and other private insurance plans.