6 Things You Need to Know about Hospice Care - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on November 18, 2015

6 Things You Need to Know about Hospice Care

Here are six things to help you better understand what hospice care is.

To learn more about Crozer-Keystone hospice
care, please call 610-284-0700. 

The last stages of a serious illness can be incredibly difficult, leaving you and your loved ones feeling like you’ve lost control over your life, health and what will happen to you. Hospice care can help you gain back some of that control.

However, talking about hospice care can be hard because it means talking about the end of life. It can also be hard for you and your family to accept that the end of life is near. It may also be difficult to consider or talk about hospice care simply because neither you nor your family know much about it and what it can do for all of you.

Here are six things to help you better understand what hospice care is.

1. Hospice care is end-of-life care

Being diagnosed with terminal illness doesn’t mean that it’s time for hospice care. However, if you or a loved one becomes gravely ill, it’s worth contacting hospice care providers to help you determine when those services will be most helpful.

You may want to consider hospice care if you or a loved one has a disease or illness that’s expected to shorten life. You may also want to consider it if:

  • Treatment to cure the disease or prolong life becomes more of a burden than a benefit
  • You or a loved one wants to spend the remainder of life comfortably
  • Health continues to decline
  • Doctor say there’s little left they can do
  • Symptoms hinder quality of life
  • You or your loved one are depressed or anxious
  • Daily tasks or living alone are no longer manageable
  • You or your loved one needs more or continued support from family and friends

2. Hospice care isn’t just medical care

While medical care is a big part of what patients receive in hospice care, they also receive emotional support in the form of counseling, which is also offered to their family and loved ones. Patients in hospice care also have access to spiritual resources. Hospice care also helps family members manage the emotional challenges of caring for a loved one in the last stages of life, as well as counseling and support after their loved one passes away.

And then there are the more practical details of end-of-life care. Hospice care can help you with advance directive forms to make sure your wishes about CPR and life support are carried out. They can also help you put your legal and financial affairs in order.

3. Its goal is improved quality of life

Patients receive medical care with a focus on pain and symptom control, with access to members of their hospice team 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hospice is a type of care that focuses on a patient’s quality of life instead of on continuing treatment of their serious illness in order to prolong life.

4. It’s different than palliative care

Although hospice and palliative care are similar, they aren’t quite the same. Palliative care does focus on improving your quality of life and managing your pain if you’re struggling with advanced illness, but it isn’t only for patients who are dying. It’s focused more broadly on improving your life and providing you with comfort. In fact, you can receive palliative care at any time and any stage of your illness, whether it’s serious, chronic or life-threatening.

5. You may not have to pay for hospice care

This type of care is generally paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. Eligibility is usually based on two main requirements:

  • Your illness can’t be cured
  • Your doctor expects that you will only live six months or less if your illness runs its normal course

6. You can choose where to receive hospice care

Since the focus of hospice care is your quality of life and making you comfortable, you can choose where you want to receive it. It can be provided in an assisted living or personal care home, in a nursing home, in an inpatient hospice residence at a hospital or in your own home. No matter where you decide to receive this type of care, you and your loved ones can rest assured that you will receive the same quality of care.

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