What Is the Purpose of Hospice for Someone Who Is Dying?


Quick Answer

The purpose of hospice is to provide comfort and improve quality of life for people who are dying, reports the National Institute on Aging. Typically, doctors diagnose hospice patients with less than six months to live and stop curative treatments. Hospice care includes pain relief, control of symptoms, needed medical supplies, counseling and social support, explains WebMD.

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Full Answer

Hospice care often takes place at home, but patients can also receive hospice care in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities and special hospice facilities, according to Mayo Clinic. Hospice teams often include doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers and other professional therapists. A number of government and private insurance programs, including Medicaid and Medicare, cover hospice care. Although hospice care programs typically last for less than six months, doctors can extend them if necessary, notes the National Institute on Aging. Patients who stabilize or recover can opt out of hospice programs and resume treatment for their illnesses.

Hospice care program usually include counseling for the patient and the patient's family, explains the National Institute on Aging. Bereavement counseling for the family often continues after the patient dies. Additionally, hospice programs provide breaks known as respite care for family members caring for hospice patients.

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