“Hospice care” is, by its very definition, life-giving and comforting health care for people who are living with a life-limiting illness. When cure is no longer a reasonable goal, hospice care provides comprehensive medical, psychosocial, and spiritual support—addressing the needs of the “whole person,” not just the illness. It also provides support to family members and caregivers who are coping with the complex consequences of illness, disability, and impending death. The realities of loss and grief of the patient and family are addressed both during the illness and after the death.
The predominant goals of care are to help the person live with decreased pain and symptoms caused by the illness, while achieving the maximum quality of life possible—in whatever way the person defines it, for whatever time is left.
Hospice care is given by medical professionals who come to the person wherever they live – private home, nursing facility, or retirement community—or in a place of temporary residence, such as a hospital or hospice inpatient unit. A “Plan of Care” is created for the person, based on the desires and capabilities of the person and their family/caregivers, and on the input of hospice team members. Care is provided during scheduled visits and in-between visits as needed, as well as by telephone and email communication as arranged with the family. Hospice staff are available to patients and caregivers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
For more specific and detailed information, see the categories outlined below.
• The person agrees to forego or discontinue aggressive treatments and receive comfort care
• The person has a designated attending physician, which may be a nurse practitioner, willing to work with the Hospice team
• Hospice patients are not required to have a “Do Not Resuscitate” order (DNR)
Reimbursement For Care
Levels of Hospice Care
There are hospice licensing rules in both North Carolina (NC Department of Health and Human Services) and South Carolina (SC Division of Health Licensing, Department of Health & Environmental Control-DHEC).
Medicare-certified Hospice providers must meet Conditions of Participation (CoPs) from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Some hospices are accredited by one of 3 independent groups: Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC); Community Health Accreditation Commission (CHAP); or The Joint Commission (TJC).