Hospice care focuses on controlling pain and other symptoms of illness so patients can remain as comfortable as possible near the end of life. Hospice care is highly individualized based on the persons goals for end-of-life care. The hospice team is comprised of doctors, nurses, certified nursing assistants (CNAs), social workers, clergy and volunteers. Expenses may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid or other health insurance plans.
There are many misconceptions regarding hospice and hospice care. Some of the most common are:
Hospice is a place.
Truth: Hospice is not a place, but rather a philosophy of care in which medical, psychological and spiritual support are provided to patients and their families. Hospice care can be provided in a variety of settings, including a persons home, assisted living, nursing homes, hospice in-patient care centers and hospitals.
Home hospice always provides a nurse around the clock.
Truth: In home hospice, patients receive visits from nurses, certified nursing assistants, chaplains, social workers and volunteers several times per week, but around the clock care in the home setting is not common. Nursing staff is typically on-call 24 hours a day to provide support to patients. Additional resources for care may be needed, such as a non-medical home health care or private duty nursing if the person is in need of 24 hour care at home. 24 hour nursing oversight and care is provided in hospitals, nursing homes and in hospice acute in-patient care centers.
If I choose hospice, I am giving up.
Truth: Hospice focuses on caring and comforting, not curing. The goal of hospice is neither to hasten nor postpone death. If the persons condition improves, hospice can be discontinued. Choosing hospice does not mean giving up, but rather that the goals of treatment have changed.
Many patients and families have chosen hospice care and resources to support them through an end-of-life journey or health crisis. It can be the right option for some patients when the time comes.
Editors Note: This article was submitted by Robin Hartman of Liaison-Marketing for Exempla Lutheran Hospice at the Collier Hospice Center. For more information Robin may be reached at 303-425-8000 or by emailHartmanr@sclhs.net
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