Hospice Care

Hospice is a special kind of care that offers comfort and support to people living with a terminal illness. The goal of hospice care is to relieve pain and suffering, allowing people to live the remainder of their life in comfort and with dignity. The recipients of hospice care include family members or care givers, as well as the patient.

Hospice care emphasizes quality of life rather than length of life, and regards dying as a normal and natural process. Hospice seeks neither to hasten death nor artificially prolong life, and interventions focus on comfort measures. Hospice services are available to people who can no longer benefit from curative treatment. Life expectancy for these individuals is generally six months or less.

Hospice services are delivered by a team of professionals and trained volunteers who provide physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and bereavement care to patients and their family members or care givers. The Hospice team includes physicians (attending and medical director), nurses, social workers, home health aides, chaplains, trained volunteers and the patient and family. Consultation is also available from other counselors or specialists as needed.

Hospice care is a covered benefit under Medicare, Medicaid (in most states including Utah) and by most private Health Plans.

Hospice care is usually provided in the home, but inpatient alternatives are available if needed. Individuals who receive hospice care do not need to be confined to their homes, and are encouraged to continue to live their life as fully as possible.