What does a Hospice do?


What does a Hospice do?


Patients with life expectancy of less than six months are generally referred for hospice care. Though hospice care is generally based at home, sometimes care may be provided in hospitals and nursing homes.

Hospice care generally involves the services of a team of professionals like doctors, nurses, clergy and social worker who offer the much-needed support towards the patient and their family when all medical treatment fails to cure.

After a patient is referred to a hospice, the hospice doctor and staff discuss the patient’s medical history, current condition and life expectancy with the patient’s personal physician and their family and come up with a plan for care which often includes aggressive pain management and counseling. Financial aspects and special needs of the patient are also discussed frankly.
The patient is obviously under severe physical and mental stress and therefore the caregiver needs to be able to provide strong support to the physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs of the patient and at the same time counsel their family and prepare them for the end. Counseling is often provided for a year after the patient’s death to their family.

Financing for Hospice care

Hospice care charges for patients who are expected to live less than six months may be covered by Medicare. This includes nursing services, physician services, medical equipment and medications, health aides, dietary counseling, spiritual and other counseling, care during crises and grief management services. Often trained volunteers provide most services. Patients with overriding medical problems not related to their terminal illness are also eligible for Medicare coverage. Besides, Medicaid provides coverage for hospice care in almost all the states in the US. HMOs and private health insurance policies also offer hospice coverage benefits.