What you need to know:
Many people think hospice care is just about dying. Hospice care is more than that—hospice brings comfort and support to people facing a life-limiting illness. It also reaches out to provide support for the family and friends who love and care for them.
Hospice care honors life’s final journey, leaving a legacy of compassion and caring. Hospice brings comfort, dignity and peace to help people live every moment of life to the fullest, leaving loved ones with memories they can treasure.
Last year, 1.4 million dying Americans were served by the nation’s hospice providers, reports the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Yet there are many facts about hospice that people are not aware of and may keep people from getting this compassionate care when they need it most.
1. Hospice is not a place but is a kind of high-quality care that brings the patient and family medical, emotional, and spiritual care and support focusing on comfort and quality of life.
2. Medicare beneficiaries pay little or nothing for hospice, and most insurance plans, HMOs and managed care plans include hospice coverage.
3. Hospice serves anyone facing a life-limiting illness, regardless of age or illness.
4. Research has shown that the majority of Americans do not want to die in a hospital; hospice treats pain and manages symptoms while allowing most patients to be at home.
5. Hospice also serves people living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
6. Hospice patients and families can receive care for six months or longer, and the greatest benefits are gained by being in hospice care for more than just a few days.
7. Less than one percent of Medicare beneficiaries live in an area where hospice is not available.
8. A person may keep his or her referring physician involved while they received hospice care.
9. Hospice serves people of all backgrounds and traditions; the core values of hospice—allowing the patient to be with family, including spiritual and emotional support, treating pain—cut across all cultures.
10. Hospice offers grief and bereavement services to family members and the community.
If this information about hospice surprises you, take the time to find out more. The best time to learn about hospice is before someone in your family is facing a health care crisis.
This information is provided by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Rockbridge Area Hospice.