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A Guide for Hospice Care

“The end of life can be, and should be, beautiful. Life is like a rainbow, with high points and low points- the end can be just as beautiful as the beginning.”


What is hospice care?

Hospice care is a specialized type of care for those facing a life-limiting illness. Hospice care focuses on the quality of an individual’s life and their physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Who provides hospice care?

Hospice care is provided by a network of professionals which may include a hospice physician, nurse, aides, social workers, and spiritual advisors.

What does a hospice doctor do that’s different from general doctors?

General practitioners focus on overall health and treatment of specific diseases or conditions an individual may have.

However, hospice doctors focus on preventing and alleviating suffering, improving quality of life, and helping the individual and their loved one’s cope with the stress and burden of the illness. For those who have a general care physician, the hospice team will work and communicate with him or her on the care plan.

If someone is ready for hospice or was recommended hospice care, what are the next steps?

Hospice care can be provided at a hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility, other long-term care facilities, or at home. A person’s physician, hospital, nurse, or friend may be able to recommend an agency or perform a local search within the area. A hospice team member will then reach out and determine whether one qualifies for hospice care and will go over the next steps.

Is hospice just for the last few days or weeks of life?

No, individuals are eligible for hospice care if a physician believes they have 6 months or less to live. Though this is a requirement for eligibility, this is an estimation, and some individuals may live much longer. Unfortunately, many people wait to go on hospice until they clearly have only days or weeks to live missing out on several months of care, comfort, and quality time.

If someone agrees to hospice care, does that mean they’re “giving up?”

Absolutely not. Hospice care is designed to improve quality of life: physically, mentally, and emotionally. If anything, it’s the opposite- hospice care allows individuals to do more with the time they have.

Does insurance cover hospice?

Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and most private insurers or HMOs cover hospice care.

What does ACHC accredited mean?

Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) is a third-party accreditation organization that has developed the highest national standards hospices are measured against in order to illustrate their ability to effectively and efficiently deliver quality healthcare. By choosing a healthcare provider that has achieved



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