Hospice care is the care provided to terminally ill patients who are not expected to live for more than six months. At this stage, the focus is on providing physical, emotional and spiritual support to the patient instead of concentrating on finding a cure for his illness.
Hospice is the only Medicare benefit that includes pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and round the clock access to care. Mostly hospice care is provided at home. It is also available in hospice residences and nursing homes. 900,000 people year in United States are utilizing hospice service as of 2008.
It is neither meant for prolonging life or nor to hasten death. Hospice care is provided by a team of professionals consisting of physicians, nurses, social workers, volunteers, clergy and family members. They work towards improving the quality of life by offering comfort and dignity. Hospice professionals make routine visit to the home while other members of the family and friends are involved in providing full time care.
Hospice takes care of all symptoms of the disease but main emphasis is on relieving the patient from pain and discomfort. A care plan is developed for the patient and reviewed and revised as per the needs of the patient.
In case it is not possible to provide the hospice care within the home environment, then the patient is admitted to the hospice center located in the hospitals where such service is available. It is learnt that one in three people in United States use hospice care.
GIP (general inpatient) level hospice care has to conform to the standard and rules prescribed by Medicare. Usually GIP level hospice care is for controlling pain and managing the symptoms. This requires skilled nursing care. It can also be given to provide respite to the patient's family or the caregiver who is taking care of the patient at home.
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