hospice_videosIf you are reading this page you or a loved one is probably engaged in the fight of your life. Either you or your loved one has a serious illness. I am aware you are not reading this because you “want to” but because you care deeply about yourself and your loved ones. You want to make sure they get the best care possible and you want to find a way to navigate our complex medical system. Reading this does not mean you don’t have a positive attitude any more than it means you are in denial. Our medical system sometimes labels people as problems when they stop and ask questions. But that is absolutely not the case. Of course you want to do everything possible, and yet also to make sure that your optimism doesn’t turn into denial.

As you read this, remember that you are only considering hospice. It is about the question, not the answer, because, hopefully, each reader will come away with his or her own individual questions that will make the exploration worthwhile. First some basics Hospice is a philosophy, a way of caring for loved ones. For some, hospice means a more natural death. For others, it means avoiding aggressive or in appropriate medical care when you are in the last months of life. Still others associate hospice with great pain and symptom management. Today the hospice idea has led to many hospitals, doctors, and insurers realize that dying at home is not only more comfortable and personal, it is what most people want. It is important to remember when hospice care in America began being paid by Medicare, there were very few types of chemotherapy, as well as few dialysis machines and respirators.

Now we have had many advances in medicine and the clear line between living and dying has become even grayer. Hospices used to admit a patient only after they had tried everything and were ready to forgo any treatment, as well as hydration or nutrients. Some hospices are now opening their admission criteria to allow patients on hospice care with antibiotics and other treatments that may be palliative in nature. These palliative care treatments, while not providing a cure, may comfort the patient and ease some symptoms. This expansion of allowing some treatments to continue even in the persons last months of life has lead the birth of Palliative Care as its own specialty in medicine.

Hospice care provides medical services, emotional support, and spiritual resources for people who are in the last stages of a serious illness, such as cancer or heart failure. Hospice care manages symptoms so that a person’s last months may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice affirms life and neither hastens nor postpones death. Hospice care treats the person rather than the disease. Hospice care is family-centered — it includes the patient and the family in its care. Doctors, nurses, social workers, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and trained volunteers care for you and your family. They are striving to relieve symptoms and give social, emotional, and spiritual support to the patient and family.

Hospice care may be provided in your home, an assisted living home, a board and care facility or in a special hospice facility. If fact, hospice can be provided any where the patient calls home. Medicare, Medicaid/MediCal in most states, the Department of Veterans Affairs, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations pay for hospice care. Also, community contributions, donations, and foundations help many hospices to give free services to patients who can’t afford payment.

Remember all hospices are different. Please call a couple of them and ask for a free no obligation information visit. To find a hospice near you please click here.

Hospice Videos  Hosted by Grief Expert David Kessler

While, hospice is a beautiful simple form of loving specialized medical care, it is a very complex choice to make for yourself or loved one. Below you will find general information that will hopefully help you In your exploration of hospice care. The information provided on this site, such as text and video is for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as medical care or medical advice and is not a replacement for medical care or mental health care.

1. Can I Change Physicians During my Hospice Care?   
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2. What should I do if hospice is not managing my pain?   
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3. How does hospice manage pain?   
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4. Who determines what my hospice care involves?   
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5. Does hospice offer choices in medication and treatment?   
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6. Can I keep my own physician during hospice care?   
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7. How does hospice administer palliative care?   
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8. What is “palliative care”?   
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9. How can I support a friend or loved one in hospice care?   
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10. How do I pay for hospice?   
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11. How do I get admitted to hospice?   
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12. How To Find A Qualified Hospice   
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