In the past, hospices were associated with only providing care for cancer patients.

When you are out of options it is time to consider choosing palliative treatment vs. continuing a no longer effective curative treatment plan, which may in fact compromise quality of life and time spent with family. The focus can then transition to making the patient feel as comfortable as possible. This is when hospice services offer patients, families and caregivers choices for symptom management. Patients and families can now establish a new goal which is to achieve the best possible quality of life. Hospice provides care in the patient’s own home, a nursing home, assisted living and Alzheimer’s facilities.

This is no longer the case and hospice care in long beach hospice care also serves patients in the final stages of lung, heart or liver disease, dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and AIDS. The service is available to anyone with a life-limiting illness.

A Hospice care program accepts Medicare and Medicaid as 100% coverage for its care. There are no out-of-pocket expenses for the patient or the patients family. Most other insurance providers also pay for hospice services. If someone does not have insurance, they are still able to receive hospice care in most cases.

There are four levels of care hospice can provide, depending on the patient’s current needs. Routine (at home) care; continuous care for acute symptom management (to prevent patient from unnecessary hospitalization); respite care (to provide family/caregivers relief) and in-patient care (in designated hospice unit) for uncontrolled symptom management that cannot be provided at home. All levels of care are covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

Hospice care is a family-centered approach that includes a team of professionals: the patient’s physician, hospice medical director, RNs, social workers, chaplains, a dietitian, counselors, therapists, home health aides and hospice-trained volunteers. If you are interested in becoming a hospice volunteer, complete training programs are available to help fulfill your calling to this rewarding mission. The team works together by focusing on the patient’s and their family’s needs, including physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects, as well as providing needed medications, medical equipment and supplies.

There also is a year of continued support available for the family following the patient’s death. Grief counselors evaluate the family’s coping skills to determine what level of bereavement support is needed in that first year after their loss.