What is a Hospice?


 

Hospice is a program of care and support for people who are terminally ill. Hospice care is for people with a life expectancy of 6 months or less if the disease runs its normal course. If you live longer than 6 months, you can still get hospice care, as long as the hospice medical director or other hospice doctor recertifies that you’re terminally ill (with a life expectancy of 6 months or less).

Important: Hospice care is given in benefit periods. You can get hospice care for two 90-day periods followed by an unlimited number of 60-day periods. At the start of each period, the hospice medical director or other hospice doctor must recertify that you’re terminally ill (with a life expectancy of 6 months or less), so you can continue to get hospice care. A benefit period starts the day you begin to get hospice care and it ends when your 90-day or 60-day period ends.

    Some Important Facts About Hospice:

    ■ Hospice helps people who are terminally ill live comfortably.

    ■ Hospice isn’t only for people with cancer.

    ■ The focus is on comfort, not on curing an illness.

    ■ A specially trained team of professionals and caregivers provide care for the “whole person,” including physical, emotional,

      social, and spiritual needs.

   ■ Services typically include physical care, counseling, drugs, equipment, and supplies for the terminal illness and related conditions.

   ■ Care is generally provided in the home.

   ■ Family caregivers can get support.

 

You and your family members are the most important part of a team that may also include doctors, nurses or nurses practitioners, chaplains, social workers  , hospice aides and volunteers. In addition, a hospice nurse and doctor are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to give you and your family support and care when you need it. You can also choose to include your regular doctor or a nurse practitioner on your medical team as the attending medical professional who will  supervise your care.