When you are living with a life-limiting illness, there comes a point when cure is no longer possible. This does not mean that death is imminent or that treatment is out of the question.

Palliative care may be appropriate before needing hospice care since it extends the principles of hospice care to a broader population that could benefit from receiving this type of care earlier in their illness or disease process. No specific therapy is excluded from consideration. An individual’s needs for symptom management and quality of life must be continually assessed and treatment options explored and evaluated in the context of the individual’s values. Palliative care, ideally, transitions into hospice care as the illness progresses.
Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and helps patients and families focus on living as fully as possible.

Facts about hospice care:
  1. Hospice is not a place; hospice teams provide expert medical care to keep patients comfortable and able to enjoy time with loved ones. The team also provides support for the entire family.
  2. Most hospice care is provided in a private home. Care is also provided in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals and hospice houses.
  3. You do not need to be homebound to receive hospice care.
  4. Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the person who is ill.
  5. Hospice serves anyone with a life-limiting illness, regardless of age or type of illness.
  6. Hospice patients and families can receive care for six months or longer.
  7. Two physicians must agree that someone is clinically appropriate for hospice care. A person may keep his or her referring physician involved while receiving hospice care.
  8. Hospices utilize a team of professionals and trained volunteers to provide expert medical care, pain-and-symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support to patients and family caregivers. All care is tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes.
  9. Hospice staff are a phone call away - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  10. Hospice offers grief and bereavement services to family members and the community.
  11. Hospice is paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, most insurance plans, HMOs, and managed care plans. Fear of costs should never prevent a person from accessing hospice care.
  12. To get the most out of what hospice offers, it’s better to have care for more than just a few days.
  13. The best time to learn about hospice is before a family is facing a healthcare crisis.