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What Happens in Hospice?

Many families aren't informed about what happens in hospice care until they start selecting a hospice. Knowing what to expect when it comes to hospice care can help you feel secure in picking a hospice that fits you and your loved one's needs.

What is hospice care?

Hospice care is a type of care that focuses on providing comfort and support to those who are facing the end of their lives. It is typically provided in the home, but it can also be given in a hospice facility. The goal of hospice care is to provide a peaceful and comfortable environment for patients who are nearing the end of their lives. This type of care can include symptom management, pain relief, emotional support, and spiritual care.

What happens in hospice care?

The exact activities that take place in hospice care will vary depending on the individual patient and their needs. However, some of the things that may happen include:

  • Providing comfort and support
  • Managing symptoms
  • Providing pain relief
  • Offering emotional support
  • Offering spiritual care
  • Helping with end-of-life arrangements
  • Coordinating care with other health professionals
  • Providing bereavement support after the patient's death

Who pays for hospice?

The cost of hospice care is typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance. However, patients are responsible for any co-payments or deductibles that may apply.

If a patient does not have Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance, they may be able to receive financial assistance from a hospice organization.

In addition, there are different types of hospices families and individuals can look into. Non-profit hospice organizations are a great choice for those who need help covering the care of hospice. Non-profit hospice care organizations have also been shown to offer more services, have more staff, offer more comprehensive bereavement services, and have less patients per employee.

When should hospice care be considered?

Hospice care should be considered when a patient is expected to live for six months or less. However, this may vary depending on the individual case. If a patient lives longer than six months but is still in need of hospice care, the eligibility requirement for Medicare can be extended by the doctor meeting with the patient and the family and vouching for the extension of the hospice care.

How long do people typically stay in hospice care?

People typically stay in hospice care for around 18 days. However, this may vary depending on the individual case.

If a patient's condition changes and they are no longer considered to be in the final stages of life, they may be discharged from hospice care.

What's the difference between hospice care and in-home hospice?

There is no difference between hospice care and in-home hospice. Hospice care can be provided in the home or in a hospice facility.

In-home hospice refers to the type of hospice care that is provided in the patient's home. This can include a variety of services, such as nursing care, home health aides, social workers, and chaplains.

What is the difference between palliative care and hospice care?

There are a few differences between palliative care and hospice care.

Hospice care:

  • Is typically paid for by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid
  • Lasts around 6 months or less
  • Takes place in a hospice care facility or at home
  • Does not include curative care

Palliative care:

  • Most often paid for by insurance or by the individual
  • Can happen at any stage of a disease or illness
  • Occurs during the same time as curative care
  • Most often happens in a hospital setting, not in a home setting

In general, hospice care is focused on comfort and is for those dealing with a terminal illness or disease that lasts six months or less. Palliative care is focused on providing physical and mental relief from a serious illness and is often offered to those who are not receiving benefits from their current treatment plan.

If you're in search of hospices to take care of a loved one, browse Ever Loved's hospice database. Ever Loved's list of hospices offers you information on the hospice, ways to get in touch, and reviews from families and individuals who have used the hospice's services.

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Last updated May 31, 2022
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