- Hospice facts
- What is hospice care?
- Why is hospice care important?
- What is the history of hospice?
- What are the main goals of hospice care?
- What are some misconceptions about hospice care?
- What kinds of services does hospice care provide?
- Are hospice services available for children?
- Can hospice care be offered at home?
- What are some medical conditions commonly referred to hospice?
- How is referral to hospice made?
- How does hospice care work?
- Who is part of the hospice team?
- What is respite care?
- Who is eligible for hospice care?
- Who pays for hospice care?
- How can people find and choose hospice care?
- What questions should people ask of hospice agencies?
- Where can a person find more information about hospice care?
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 which can be provided in many different settings. 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?
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
- lung disease (chronic obstructive lung disease, COPD);
- heart disease, congestive heart failure;
- advanced liver disease, cirrhosis;
- end-stage kidney disease;
- dementia (Alzheimer's or other types);
- advanced neurologic diseases (Parkinson's disease, ALS);
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS.
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.