Hospice Care is Hope

Recently, some of the “Hospice Ladies” came by our office to check in with us and see how we were doing; these women are some of the kindest, most compassionate people I know. One of the things we discussed were the misconceptions and under-utilization of hospice care.

Hospice care is for people with a life expectancy of six months or less (if the disease runs its normal course) and who choose compassionate comfort care instead of curative treatment. If you live longer than six months, you can still get hospice care, as long as the hospice medical director or other doctor recertifies that you are still terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less. Going on hospice is not giving up; it is about being able to make your own end-of-life choices.

Hospice care offers a wide array of benefits for the patient, such as:

Many times, care is given in the home where the patient and family are more comfortable.

A plan of care is developed with the hospice provider, the patient and the family. Everyone’s voice can be heard, and the patient and his or her family can have some control during a very chaotic time.

The plan of care is based on the needs of each patient and their family. This personalization allows the needs of the patient to be met and puts less stress on family members.

Hospice can reduce the financial burden on families. Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances cover hospice care. Hospice care can reduce hospital stays for those receiving care.

Hospice workers are available 24 hours a day, so if there is an emergency, you have someone to call for help and support.

Families benefit by having educated, caring staff members to talk to. The family can continue to receive bereavement support after the death of their family member.

Hospice care is provided by a team that can include doctors, nurses, social workers, volunteers, bereavement counselors and pastors. These experts work to make sure all aspects of care are addressed. Hospice also includes coverage of needed medical equipment, some prescriptions and many more services. One of the amazing aspects of hospice is that it provides emotional and spiritual support for the patient and their family. These services are provided at a time when most patients and their families need the services the most, at the end of life.

The earlier someone is on hospice, the more support they and their family receive. Hospice workers choose that profession because they feel a calling to help those most in need; they are compassionate and caring and trained to provide care. Hospice is not for people who have given up on life; it is for those who want the best quality of life possible, for as long as possible.

If you have questions, please contact a local hospice provider or call our office, Aging Matters, at

1 (800) 392-8771. Because Aging Matters.