A hospice program provides palliative and supportive care for terminally ill patients and their families with support from professionals and volunteers. The focus of care includes emphasis on medical, emotional and spiritual problems. With the ultimate goal of comfortable and meaningful life for patients and their families, by managing pain and other discomforts. Bereavement services for family members are generally covered by hospice once the patient dies.
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Over 1 Million last year were cared for by hospice. Hospice care is comfort care, with sole focus on quality of life. Hospice brings comfort, dignity, and peace to people facing a terminal illness. Hospice provides support and care for the family caregivers, too. Hospice programs provide care in a center, home, senior housing or in nursing facility. The services includes services such as doctor/nurse visits, on call 24x7 professional health care, teaching and emotional support of the family, and physical care of the patient.
Some signs that a person may be ready for hospice care are:
- An increase in pain, nausea or breathing issues
- Repeated hospitalizations or trips to the emergency room (ER)
- Decrease in function requiring assistance walking, eating, bathing, dressing and/or personal care
- Decrease alertness, emotionally withdrawn, sleeping more or having increased difficulty with comprehension
- Inability to ‘bounce back’ after medical set-backs
- Significantly decreased appetite and weight loss
Some important facts about hospice that people don’t know:
- Hospice is not a place, it's care that focuses on comfort and quality of life. It's frequently provided at home, nursing home and assisted living facilities.
- Hospice is paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans, once approved.
- Hospice serves anyone with a life-limiting illness, regardless of age or type of illness.
- Along with medical care Hospice also provides spiritual and emotional support to patients and families.
- Hospice care has to be re-approved every few months.
- Referring physician can be involved while receiving hospice care.
- Hospice offers grief and bereavement services to family members to help them adjust to the loss in their lives.
- As the patients get more comfortable and happier with their lives, sometimes hospice patients live longer than similar patients who do not opt for hospice.
Insurance companies generally cover most or all of hospice care costs.
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