Hospices provide humane and compassionate care for people in the last phases of an incurable disease allowing them to live as fully and comfortably as possible. The goal of hospice is to enable patients to continue an alert, pain-free lifestyle while managing other symptoms. Last days can be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones.

Hospice care should involve staff members who are kind and caring. They should communicate well, be good listeners, and have an interest in working with families who are dealing with a life-threatening illness.

Care is provided for the patient and family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and may be given in the patient's home, a hospital, nursing home, or private hospice facility. Medicare-certified hospices are required to provide nursing, pharmacy, and doctor services around the clock.

Finding the hospice program that meets your needs may take some research, but it will be time well spent. Quality of care, availability of needed services, personnel training and expertise, and coverage provided by the payer all need to be considered. The state health department oversees certification of hospice services. Certification makes them eligible for Medicare and, in some states, Medicaid payments.

To find the best hospice for your needs, ask your doctor, healthcare professionals, clergy, social workers or friends who have received care for a family member. You may want to call or meet with the hospices and ask questions about their services.

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Begin by entering the zip code for the desired location of a hospice facility.


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