Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and in most cases care is provided in the patient’s home. Hospice care also is provided in freestanding hospice centers, hospitals, and nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness. Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations.
Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. Terminally ill means that death is imminent. All avenues for assistance and cure have been exercised.
Hospice staff is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient’s individual needs for pain management and symptom control. The team usually consists of:
- The patient’ s personal physician;
- Hospice physician (or medical director);
- Home health aides;
- Social workers;
- Clergy or other counselors
- Trained volunteers; and
- Speech, physical, and occupational therapists, if needed.
Most hospitals offer you a Palliative director when the time approaches. An organization such as Moments of Life, can help you walk through the emotional time.
Among its major responsibilities, the hospice team can and will provide:
- Manages the patient’s pain and symptoms;
- Assists the patient with the emotional and psychosocial and spiritual aspects of dying;
- Provides needed drugs, medical supplies, and equipment;
- Coaches the family on how to care for the patient;
- Delivers special services like speech and physical therapy when needed;
- Makes short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time; and
- Provides bereavement care and counseling to surviving family and friends.
Bobbi Kristina, daughter of whitney Houston has been transferred to hospice care. This denotes that her health has deteriorated to the point of incurable.