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What is hospice end-of-life care?

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Quick Answer

End-of-life care through a hospice service provides medical, emotional and spiritual support to a person with a terminal condition nearing death, according to the National Institute on Aging. Hospice care uses a team that includes nurses, social workers, spiritual leaders, volunteers and the patient's family or caregivers. The goal of end-of-life care is to provide comfort for the patient at the end of life when treatments are no longer an option.

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Full Answer

A patient generally qualifies for hospice care if he has less than six months to live, explains Mayo Clinic. If the patient lives longer than six months, hospice care can continue if the hospice team and physician certify that the patient is still near the end of his life. Hospice care is available for any terminal condition.

Hospice end-of-life care typically happens in the patient's home or in a hospice facility, notes WebMD. Some patients in nursing homes, hospitals or long-term care facilities are also eligible for hospice care. A hospice staff member is always available by phone, no matter where the patient receives the care.

The hospice services for end-of-life care match the needs of the patient. This may include pain and symptom management, medical supplies, counseling for the patient and family, respite care to give family members a break, and volunteers to help with errands or meals, says WebMD. The services focus on the quality of life for the patient in the last days, weeks or months of life.

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