The Five W’s of Hospice Care

Neville Sarkari, MD Corporate Medical Director, Covenant Hospice
WHO: As a benefit provided by Medicare and most other insurances, hospice is available to individuals who have a life-limiting illness in the opinion of a physician and a hospice medical director. Cancer is not the only diagnosis that qualifies an individual for hospice care. Many patients have severe lung disease, recurrent heart failure or dementia combined with poor appetite and/or weakness. Hospice care provided through not-for-profit 501(c)3 organizations is based on need and not the ability to pay.
WHAT: Hospice care allows those with a life-limiting illness to live as fully and comfortably as possible. Individuals should make the decision with their family and physician to seek comfort care, rather than curative care. Hospice care plans include weekly RN visits, a doctor available for home visits who collaborates with the primary care physician, homecare aides to assist with personal care and pastoral, volunteer and bereavement services.
WHEN: If you or someone you love is facing a life-limiting illness, and the goal becomes comfort and quality of life over aggressive treatment. Most families who have had the help of hospice will tell you that they only wish they had called sooner. Anyone can make a hospice referral, including physicians, family members, neighbors, friends or the actual patient.
WHERE: Care is provided wherever the patient calls home. This may include their own home or the home of a family member, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, inpatient care centers and other residential care settings.
WHY: Hospice makes a meaningful difference in the lives of patients and enhances the quality of life for the patient, and therefore the family. Hospice provides care and support when it counts the most.


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