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Hospice: Special care for special needs
Hospice care provides comfort and support during terminal illness.
Unlike most medical care, hospice care doesn't cure or treat illness. Instead, it provides comfort and support.
Hospice care is designed for people of any age in the final weeks or months of life. This care usually takes place in the home. It allows people to finish their lives with as little pain as possible in a comfortable environment, surrounded by loved ones.
A hospice care team includes medical professionals and volunteers. Services may include:
- Pain management.
- Advice and counseling.
- Spiritual support.
- Light housekeeping.
- Meal preparation.
- Help with day-to-day activities, such as running errands, babysitting, shopping or carpooling.
- Help with personal care, such as bathing, shaving and nail care.
- Physical, speech or occupational therapy.
- Respite care, which provides periods of relief for at-home caregivers.
- Support during grieving.
Hospice care is usually less expensive than care in a hospital, nursing home or other institution. Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans provide some coverage for hospice care.
What to look for
When looking for hospice care, consider the advice from the American Cancer Society to ask about certification, licensing, available services, personnel and costs.
For more information on hospice care and how to find it, visit these websites:
- American Cancer Society.
- National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
- National Association for Home Care and Hospice.