For Consumers


What is Hospice?
Hospice offers medical care toward a different goal: maintaining or improving quality of life for someone whose illness, disease or condition is unlikely to be cured.  Each patient’s individualized care plan is updated as needed to address the physical, emotional and spiritual pain that often accompanies terminal illness. Hospice care also offers practical support for the caregiver(s) during the illness and grief support after the death.  Hospice is something more that is available to the patient and the entire family when curative measures have been exhausted and life prognosis is six months or less.

Guiding Patients and Families to Hospice

While most people would prefer to die in their own homes, many terminally ill patients still die in the hospital. This is often due to lack of understanding of the benefits of hospice and failure of health providers to open the dialogue. 

While a discussion about hospice may be hard, these conversations can lead to better pain management, time to say goodbye, and even a longer life, due to pain relief and home comforts. Some families who do choose hospice care often do so only for the last few days of life, and later regret not having done it sooner. 

Under Medicare rules, a physician must certify that a patient is eligible for hospice. Families usually need time to digest and consider such a recommendation. If families are wavering, discharge planners can make a significant difference. Thoughtful discharge planners will make themselves familiar with hospice benefits, talk to hospital spiritual counselors and practice discussing the options.

Who is eligible? 
Who provides the care?
How do I choose the right provider?
How do I pay for it?
Important family tools 
Hospice Bill of Rights