There may come a time when you and your loved one will want to consider hospice care. Hospice provides compassionate care at the end-of-life for people with a life expectancy of six months or less. It's like having a whole group of people to lean on for support - they will help you to coordinate everything from pain management and nursing care to counseling and homemaker services. Hospice staff are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The National Hospice Foundation states that: "At the center of hospice is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so. The focus is on caring, not curing and, in most cases, care is provided in the patient' s home."
If you are considering hospice care, start by talking with your physician. A physician must make the recommendation in order to qualify for Medicare coverage.
For more information about hospice services, the philosophy behind hospice care, and questions to consider when choosing a hospice, check out the following resources:
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization represents most hospice programs in the U.S. Their Helpline is 1-800-658-8898 and you can search their directory for a hospice program near you www.nhpco.org/directory.