What Does Hospice Care Include?

what does hospice care include

Hospice is actually a philosophy of care instead of a cure. When seriously ill patients don’t want to spend their final days confined in a hospital, hospice care is a dignified and comfortable alternative for many. Essentially, the aim of hospice care is to emphasize the quality of a person’s life at the end of his or her life. This is accomplished through health care professionals administering palliative care (i.e., comfort care) in a comfortable setting — either in a hospice facility or at home, depending on the individual’s needs and circumstances. It’s also important to note that hospice care does not mean the patient is giving up hope. Rather, when called for, it should be viewed as the most appropriate care for the last phase of a person’s life.

Typically, hospice care includes the following:


  • Physical care. Hospice will take care of a patient’s physical needs, from bathing to getting dressed to physical therapy, et al — keeping in mind the best way to control a patient’s pain and other symptoms that cause discomfort.
  • Emotional and spiritual care. Counseling may be provided for the patient and close friends and family. Any spiritual needs of a patient can be identified and addressed as well.
  • Respite care. The patient’s family and other caregivers are able to take a break thanks to the help of health care professionals.
  • Social care. Social workers work with patients and their families to answer questions about insurance, finances, Medicare, funeral and memorial services or other practical issues.
  • Equipement. Depending on the patient’s needs, equipment such as an electric bed, wheelchair and other medical supplies will be supplied by hospice.

What about Medicare?

Hospice care usually means what Medicare will provide. Still, geriatric and palliative care surveys have found that there’s a barrier for people who may want hospice care but can’t receive it due to current Medicare requirements. In some cases, current Medicare regulations can makes it difficult for a patient to enroll in for-profit hospices rather that non-profit hospices due to the high costs associated with caring for a terminally ill patient. Of course, this can vary on a case-by-case/state-by-state basis, so it’s best to consult with a senior health care provider to see what options are available.

2011 U.S. hospice stats (via nhpco.org)

  • Nearly 1.7 million patients received hospice services.
  • The median length of hospice service was 19.1 days.
  • 66.4% of patients received hospice care at home.
  • Only 21.9% of patients received care in a hospice inpatient facility.
  • Currently there are more than 5,300 hospices in operation in the United States, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Physicians Choice Private Duty currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system.  Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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