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About Hospice Care
Note: Many families or their loved ones'
doctors often wait too long to order hospice. Hospice is a very valuable service
and should be ordered at an earlier stage of illness. Many doctors or family
don't often consider hospice for Alzheimer's, degenerative old age or other
debilitating illnesses where a person is going downhill fast. They should.
It is unfortunate that many people who died in a hospital
emergency room or who received heroic treatments to prolong life in a hospital
may have had the alternative of dying at home in familiar surroundings, with
family or other loved ones at their side.
When someone is in crisis or appears to be going downhill fast
but there really is no hope for recovery, family often call 911 and start a
process which can result in great stress and great emotional discomfort. The
loved one who is dying ends up in a hospital and may die there or be transferred
to a nursing home where death eventually occurs.
When there is no longer hope for prolonging life, especially
when this decision is made months in advance, hospice is usually a better
alternative to other medical intervention.
Hospice is a form of palliative care for patients who are
terminally ill. A commonly used definition for terminally ill patients is,
"patients who have a progressive, incurable illness that will end in death
despite good treatment, and who are sick enough that you would not be surprised
if they died within six months."
Hospice care is a valuable service and is generally underused
except for terminal cancer patients. Hospice allows for compassion and dignity
in the process of dying. Most families wait too long to have their doctor
prescribe hospice from Medicare. It should be considered at an earlier
Hospice involves a team approach using the following providers.
The purpose of hospice is the following:
A person can receive hospice from Medicare if he or she is
A person may continue to receive regular Medicare benefits from
his or her customary doctors for conditions not related to the hospice