Hospice care is offered to those who are terminally ill and wish to seek out comfort care rather than treatment of the condition. This is also known as palliative care.
Those who qualify for hospice care are patients who have received a terminal illness diagnosis with a life expectancy of six months or less. There are many different types of terminal illnesses that may be treated within a hospice care system, including:
- Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Lung disease
- Degenerative neurological disorders
Any terminally ill person can ultimately receive hospice care if they so choose and if they have the coverage for the costs. In the event that they do choose hospice care, they will have to officially waive treatment to try and stop the illness in exchange for palliative care.
This means that instead of treating the illness in an attempt to save the patient’s life, medical treatment focuses not on extending the patient’s life but on providing the highest level of comfort until the end of their life.
Palliative care is also helpful to the families of patients learning to cope with the reality of their loved one’s illness and can help with the transition that comes with a patient opting into a hospice.