Hospice and Palliative Care
Hospice care is focused on quality of life issues for terminally ill people. Its goal is to make their last months of life as positive as possible by surrounding them with empathetic, supportive people and by offering pain-relief measures when needed. Hospice is sometimes called “palliative” care. Palliative care means pain relief and symptom control rather than treatment intended to cure a disease.
Services are provided by a coordinated team of doctors, nurses, social workers, grief counselors, spiritual counselors, physical therapists, home health aids, and volunteers. Hospice provides medications, supplies, equipment, and hospital services related to the terminal illness, as well as helpers in the home. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones dying. Using medications, counseling, and therapies (such as music, art, and massage) to combat pain, most patients are comfortable. Contact and support for caregivers continues for a year following the death of a loved one. The family's financial burden is often reduced by the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
Where to Go — Terminal Care/Hospice
Most patients choose to receive hospice care in the comfort of their own home, where the primary caregiver is usually a family member. In these situations, an on-call hospice nurse is available to handle crises and to make decisions about which member of the professional staff should respond to the patient. Hospice care can also be given in hospice facilities, special units in hospitals, and in nursing homes. The goal of hospice is always to offer dignity and comfort to the terminally ill and their family.
Where to Go — Palliative Care In Hospital
For in-hospital help with pain relief and terminal illness, call URMC Palliative Care Services at (585) 273-1154. The primary difference between this hospital-based service and in-home hospice care is that patients can continue active medical treatments in the hospital. URMC’s Palliative Care Service employs a multi-disciplinary approach and includes doctors, nurses, social workers, ethicists, chaplains, pain specialists and behavioral health specialists.
Qualifying for the Medicare Hospice Benefit
Comprehensive and empathetic care at the end of life doesn't have to be expensive or burdensome to your family. The Medicare Hospice Benefit virtually eliminates paperwork, bills, claims and financial surprises. To qualify after hospice admission you must:
- Have Medicare Part A
- Have confirmation from your doctor and the hospice medical director that your life expectancy is less than six months
- Have agreed in writing not to pursue treatments for curing your illness
What If You Can't Pay for It?
Hospice will help families determine insurance eligibility. In addition, most hospices have the means to provide charitable care for those without financial reserves. Memorial or foundation gifts are used for this purpose.
Local Telephone Numbers to Call for Hospice Care