Choosing Hospice

If a person has a terminal illness or disease that is no longer responding to aggressive care, they are eligible for hospice care if two physicians can certify to their condition and prognosis. One of these may be the hospice physician. The physicians will certify that if the disease were to run its normal course, the patient may be expected to die within six months.

This does not mean that the person will definitely die within six months.  The course of decline in a patient with a serious illness varies from disease to disease, and even from person to person within the same disease.  It simply means that for the foreseeable future, if the illness continues as it usually does, the patient may be expected to die.

Hospice covers all services, medications and equipment related to the terminal illness. These include:

  • Physician services
  • Nursing services
  • Home health aides
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Medications for pain relief and symptom management
  • Dietary counseling
  • Continuous care during crisis periods
  • Trained volunteers
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Respite care for the family
  • Social work services
  • Psychological and spiritual counseling for the individual
  • Bereavement services for the family for a year after death