Hospice

  • Medical Author:
    Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH

    Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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What are some misconceptions about hospice care?

Many misconceptions about hospice care still exist in the mind of the public and health-care professionals. For example, it is perceived that hospice is a physical location and it only treats pain in cancer patients.

The following are some of the true facts about hospice to clarify these misconceptions.

  • Hospice care can be provided in many settings. It need not be only a physical place where patients go to die.
  • Hospice is not only for cancer patients.
  • Hospice does not deal only with pain management.
  • Hospice does not hasten or prolong death.
  • Hospice does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, or religion.
  • Hospice does not participate in or encourage active euthanasia.
  • Hospice does permit patients to see their regular physician.
  • Hospice does allow patients to go to hospital if they choose.
  • Hospice can be revoked at any time by patients or their families.
  • Hospice can be provided for children with terminal disease.

What kinds of services does hospice care provide?

Services provided under hospice depend on the patient's needs and medical condition. General services provided by hospice include

  • routine medical assessment and evaluation by a physician,
  • frequent nurse visits ranging between daily to weekly depending on patient's needs and condition,
  • spiritual counseling,
  • social worker evaluation,
  • volunteer services.

Additional personnel, including dieticians, pharmacists, home health aids, and other therapists, can also be involved in the care of a patient under hospice.

Contribution from these team members is dictated by the needs and goals of the patient.

In regards to medications, hospice typically supplies medications that help with managing and controlling the symptoms of the underlying condition.

In addition, durable medical equipment and medical supplies are routinely provided and covered under hospice benefits. Wheelchairs, hospital beds, wound-care supplies, oxygen tanks, nutritional supplements, diapers, and urinary catheters are examples of some of the equipment often provided to patients by hospice.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/6/2015
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