To find a comfort care provider for a loved one, search for a provider on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization website by entering the person's address, city or ZIP code and clicking Search. The site contains a list of hospice and palliative care providers throughout the United States.
Alternatively, ask the patient's doctor or social worker for a referral to a care provider that can meet the loved one's needs. Comfort care is available in many settings, including nursing homes, hospitals, designated inpatient hospices and in the patient's or a caregiver's home. Care providers offer different levels of care, ranging from routine care, such as help with bathing and meals, to providing a trained hospice worker at the patient's bedside for eight to 24 hours each day. Respite care, which provides short breaks for family members, is often available as well. Patients whose condition warrants around-the-clock nursing care may be admitted to the hospital for comfort care until their symptoms improve.
Comfort care, or palliative care, refers to medical and nursing care that is aimed at preventing and alleviating suffering and improving the patient's and his loved ones' quality of life. Comfort care is not necessarily end-of-life care; it is appropriate for any individual who has a serious illness and complex physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice care is a specific type of palliative care that typically begins when a person's doctor determines he has about six months to live.