On Friday, November 3rd, Margie Strosser and Wendy Hunt from Holisticare Hospice presented an educational forum on hospice care.

Holisticare Hospice is “the brainchild of three like-minded women with extensive long-term care experience who want to provide a higher level of hospice to the communities they serve.” Head over to their website to learn more.

Hospice is a form of comfort care, rather than aiming to cure someone. It is a form of palliative care that can be administered in someone’s home or a special facility.

Hospices are the largest providers of palliative care in the country. While all types of palliative care focus on reducing physical suffering, hospice services are specifically geared toward people who have a reasonable life expectancy of less than 6 months. See this document for information about hospice and other forms of palliative care.

It’s a tough topic to talk about, but very important. You need to have this conversation with people you love and trust. This starter kit from the Conversation Project is a good resource to help you talk to the important people in your life about your wishes for end-of-life care.  

Many don’t know that hospice care is paid for by Medicare, regardless of your age. Eligibility for these services is determined by doctors. This being said, you can ask to be evaluated if you or your loved ones feel it’s necessary.

It’s important to make sure you set up your health care power of attorney, which is different from your financial power of attorney (even if you have a living will). Your health care power of attorney will be responsible for making your medical decisions if you are no longer able to do so.

The person that cares for you needs to be an active advocate in this period of your life.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and get help if you need it.

Three Pillars of Hospice Care:

  1. Comfort
  2. Safety
  3. Coordination of care and communication

Hospice team members:

  • Medical director
  • Nurse
  • Social worker
  • Chaplain
  • Home health aid

Qualification/Eligibility for hospice:

  • Limited life expectancy and ready for comfort.
  • A physician has reasonable expectation you have 6 months of life or less left.
  • It is decided by your doctor.
  • You can ask the question “Am I ready for hospice?”
  • You can request someone to come out and see if you are ready.

Things to remember:

  • Hospice is about care and comfort.
  • Government paid program.
  • Government pays for all the equipment and supplies.
  • Person who cares for you needs to be an advocate.

Documents from the Event:

Hospice Care ACL

10 Tips for Finding LGBT- Affirming Services 

Choosing a Quality Hospice for You or Your Loved Ones