Hospice Care Basics

Hospice care provides medical services, emotional support and spiritual resources for people in the last stages of a terminal illness.

It also helps family members manage the practical details and emotional challenges of carrying for a dying loved one. Usually, hospice care is provided in a family member's or the loved ones' home. What follows are some of the services provided:
  • Basic medical care the focuses on pain and symptom control
  • Medical supplies and equipment as needed
  • Counseling and social support to help with psychological, emotional and spiritual needs
  • Guidance with issues of life completion and closure
  • Respite (a break) for caregivers
  • Volunteer support for meal preparation and errands
  • Counseling and support for loved ones after the patient dies
Payment for hospice services is covered through Medicare and most Medicaid programs. Some private insurance programs offer a hospice benefit. It is important to research whether your health insurance coverage (or your loved one's) offers hospice benefits. Also, determine exactly which services are included. Many hospice programs will research your medical coverage for you.