What is hospice and what should you look for?

Through National Hospice and Palliative Care Month every November, we’re reminded that now is the best time to learn about hospice when end-of-life care isn’t an immediate concern. Options for care can be researched and decisions can be made after thorough discussions with your loved ones.

What is hospice?

Hospice refers to care that is provided to a patient during his or her last days. If a patient no longer responds to treatments and he or she may be expected to die if the illness were to run its normal course, then the patient’s doctor can request for hospice to start. Hospice doesn’t prolong or hasten death; the goal is to offer comfort and dignity to the patient by managing pain and distress, and provide support to loved ones.

Who provides hospice?

Hospice is provided by an interdisciplinary team that consists of a social worker, registered nurse, home health aide, trained volunteer and chaplain. The team writes a care plan with the patient and loved ones and care will be provided accordingly.

What services are included in hospice?

  • Pain management including needed drugs, medical supplies and equipment
  • Emotional, psychosocial and spiritual assistance to the patient
  • Help for family members on how best to care for the patient
  • Bereavement care and counseling to family members

Where is hospice provided?

Hospice is given wherever the patient lives. This could be a home, nursing facility or long-term care facility.

What should you look for when choosing from several hospices in your area?

To access Providence services near you visit our Hospice & Home Health care website.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has developed a worksheet with questions to help you select a hospice that meets your needs.

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