By Bobbie Holz, Certified Concierge Care Advisor

What is Hospice? Hospice is a specialized type of care for those facing terminal or life-limiting illness. It can also help their families and caregivers. Hospice care addresses physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of the patient. Hospice can take place in a home, in a home like setting like an adult family home, in a nursing home, or even in a community. Hospice care focuses on managing a patient’s pain or any other symptoms that a patient may have so that the patient can live as comfortably as possible and make the most out of the time that is remaining in their lives. Generally, hospice care begins for someone whom a doctor has diagnosed with having 6 months or less of their lives.

How does hospice care begin? Hospice care will begin as soon as a request or a referral is made. There are many different and wonderful hospice companies in the area so asking your doctor which could benefit you and your family is a good idea. A hospice representative will generally visit the patient within 48 hours. Care may begin as quickly as a day or two.

What kind of assistance can Hospice provide? When working with hospice, you and your family and caregivers work with a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, nursing aides, spiritual aids, and therapists. Provided are things to address individual needs like medications, supplies, hospital services, and sometimes even helpers in the home. Hospice care can provide pain management and symptom relief, and have different therapies like music therapy, art therapy, counseling, and other types of therapy.

How is hospice care covered? These services are provided by Medicare nationwide, by Medicaid in most states, and by most private health insurance policies. Check with your insurance providers to make sure it is covered.

Who makes the decision to begin hospice? Beginning hospice is to be decided only by the patient and the patient’s family members. Some people have concerns about changing focus of care from disease modifying to focus on comfort care and quality of life. Trained hospice care staff can help make for a smooth transition. Beginning hospice care is a hard decision to make. Making sure you have all the information needed and all your questions asked and answered is most important. If you need help with a referral to a Hospice Care company, Concierge Care Advisors can help.