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Considering the Hospice Option

Who's Part of the Hospice Team?

In most cases, hospice care takes place at the person's home, which is why you may hear the term "home hospice." However, hospice can also take place in a hospital, nursing home, or other private facility. Nonhospital inpatient hospice facilities are available as well.
The hospice team can include:
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Home health aides
  • Chaplains
  • Therapists
  • Other professionals
  • Volunteers.
These people also serve as a support system for your family and loved ones during the dying process and for bereavement support after the loss. This team will work with you to develop a care plan that helps meet your specific goals and wishes.

Planning Your Hospice Care

Your hospice team will meet with you regularly to evaluate your care and needs. They will help to keep your care plan up to date with any comfort and medical needs you may have. This will include anything you might need to help manage your pain and relieve other symptoms, as well providing any other emotional support for you and your family.
Some questions you may want to consider when putting a plan together with your hospice team include things such as:
  • What measures do you take to help control my pain and other symptoms?
  • Can my family members be involved in my daily care? If so, in what ways (bathing, feeding, etc.)?
  • What type of support do you provide with emotional and spiritual aspects of death?
  • Who do we call if we have any questions? Are you available 24 hours a day?
  • What are the Medicare or Medicaid requirements for coverage of the hospice costs?
  • What will I have to pay out of pocket for hospice services?
  • Does a nurse, social worker, or therapist conduct the evaluations for the types of services needed?
  • How much responsibility is expected from the family caregiver?
Your hospice team will help work with you to put together this care plan, but the decisions for how you want to spend your remaining days will be mainly up to you and your wishes. The hospice team will be focused on giving you any support you need to help fill your final days with comfort, peace, and dignity.
The hospice team does not just come in and "take over." They are there to come alongside your friends and family to help care for you. The hospice team will also be there for your friends and loved ones for grief support and bereavement support.
If you are receiving hospice care at home, you can choose a family member or close friend to serve as your primary caregiver. This person will be responsible for providing, coordinating, and overseeing the majority of your care. Your hospice team will work with your caregiver to help provide the care you wish and desire according to your hospice plan.
Your healthcare provider can help you find a hospice care center in your area. You can also contact your local department of health for a list of licensed hospice facilities or find resources through hospice-related Web sites.
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