Hospice (cont.)

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Are hospice services available for children?

Most, but not all, hospices render care for pediatric patients with terminal illnesses. The care provided for children on hospice is generally even more delicate and complex because of

  • challenges in communicating with children about their illness,
  • children's perceptions about illness and death,
  • difficulty assessing children's symptoms,
  • unnatural and dramatic circumstance for parents,
  • effects of a child's illness on other siblings and friends,
  • uneasy social interactions with other children.

Hospices which provide pediatric care often use the expertise of counselors, therapists, and social workers trained in child psychology and communication.

Can hospice care be offered at home?

Yes, because hospice is a service rather than a place. Its location to deliver care is based on each individual's preference. In fact, the majority of patients on hospice stay at their home or their usual residence (nursing homes or long-term care facilities) as they did prior to going on hospice.

Hospice care can be offered where the patient lives as long as the environment is safe, and the intensity of care does not overwhelm the patient and caregivers. Occasionally, a patient may need to be moved to a nursing facility or another health-care setting if their home care becomes unachievable. This situation usually arises because of a need for higher level of personal care or uncontrolled symptoms requiring close monitoring by trained staff.

What are some medical conditions commonly referred to hospice?

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Even though cancer remains one of the most common hospice diagnoses, many other terminal conditions are now very routinely referred to hospice.

Conditions other than cancer that are commonly referred to hospice are

In reality, no specific restrictions exist as to what conditions can be referred to hospice. Any disease that is deemed end stage is not reversible, and its further treatment poses more burden than benefit can be considered for referral to hospice.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/29/2014

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Hospice - Experience Question: Please share your experience with hospice care.
Hospice - Medical Conditions Question: What medical condition did your friend or family member have who received hospice care?
Hospice - Resources Question: How did you find hospice care for a friend of family member? What influenced your decision?

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