Hospice care is used to improve the quality of life for people with life-limiting diseases, usually at the point where their illness is seen as being terminal. It is important to note that hospice is not a specific place in most cases, but a concept of providing care. The majority of hospice care is provided in the home of the patient or a family member, and sometimes in nursing homes. Much less often, it is provided in an in-patient hospice facility.

For many, hospice becomes the place where they spend the last few months of their life. Care that respects the wishes of the elderly person is provided in hospice, there is a high degree of dignity involved to ensure that the needs of each person are respected during this often demanding and difficult time for the patient and family.

What does hospice do? Hospice care supports the emotional, social, medical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs of the elderly person, their families and caregivers. This wholesome approach is holistic and includes support for family members after the death of the patient.

Who opts for hospice care? While hospice care is generally used for those who are close to dying, there may be other reasons why someone may opt for this care. A short stay may be used when an illness is diagnosed to provide treatment and support before being allowed home. A short stay may also be useful to provide family members and caregivers respite. The amount of time spent in respite care will vary from person to person.

More information on hospice. You can find out more about local hospice care from your doctor or online. While you can contact hospice care directly, often you will be referred by your health practitioner. You may also opt to use private in-home care, such as from a home health care agency like CareGivers of America, to deliver this compassionate end-of-life care.