Hospice is an approach to medical care for patients nearing the end of life. The goal of hospice is to enhance the life of patients with a terminal illness. It focuses on symptom relief and addresses the patient’s emotional, social and spiritual needs.
Those in a hospice program receive an individualized care plan. This plan is developed by a team of professionals who work with the patient and family members. Depending on the patient’s needs, the team may consist of the patient’s primary care physician, nurses, home health aides, social workers, and physical therapists.
A patient with a life limiting illness may reach the point where they no longer respond to the treatment aimed at curing the disease. At that time, the physician may recommend shifting treatment from a cure-oriented method to a comfort-oriented method. It is medical treatment that seeks to control symptoms and manage pain. Hospice care can often be the best option for this form of treatment.
While some hospice care is administered in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, most hospice services occur in the patient’s home. Advances in technology has made it possible to operate Medicaid equipment in a home setting. Hospice team members can provide many services from home including:
- Pain and symptom management
- Drugs, medical supplies and equipment
- Arrangements for respite care
- Physical therapy
- Help with day to day chores and activities