The Role of Hospice in Elder Health Care


I had to face that my mother was dying. If I had known how hospice would transform our relationship with the elder health care system, I hospicejpg1would have acted sooner.

Hospice introduced us to a more compassionate way of dealing with my aging parent.

1. Focused on comfort rather than prolonging my mother's life
2. Expanded our elder health care team to include a nurse, home health aide and social worker
3. Provided emotional support
4. Paid for most of my mother's drugs and incontinence supplies
5. Answered our elder health care questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week

The cost to our family for this amazing set of elder health care benefits was zero because my mother was enrolled as a Medicare Part A participant.

Hospice is a misunderstood elder health care benefit.

Common   Myths


Using hospice meant giving up control

My dad as my mother’s elder health care agent made decisions with hospice support
and advice.

Accepting hospice means giving up hope

Hospice services helped us make elder health care decisions that focused on quality
of life.

Hospice is just for cancer patients.

Hospice is for any terminal condition. My
mother entered hospice as an Alzheimer’s disease patient.

Hospice is a place

Most hospice services are delivered in patient’s homes, assisted living communities and nursing homes.

To enter hospice, a patient's doctor and the hospice medical director certify that he or she is terminally ill and has six months or less to live. Patients are regularly assessed by the hospice team and must continue to decline to remain eligible for hospice benefits.

Choose compassionate elder health care at the end of life. Many families, including mine, wait too long to engage hospice services. Include hospice as an elder health care alternative when you discuss end-of-life issues with your parent. Make sure that your parent's elder health care providers know he wants hospice when the time is right.

Has your family used hospice as an elder health care alternative? Share your experiences.

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--Janice Wallace