- Hospice is a special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments.
- Hospice care neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Hospice staff and volunteers offer a specialized knowledge of medical care, including pain management.
- The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient’s last days by offering comfort and dignity.
- Hospice care is provided by a team-oriented group of specially trained professionals, volunteers and family members.
- Hospice addresses all symptoms of a disease, with a special emphasis on controlling a patient’s pain and discomfort.
- Hospice deals with the emotional, social, and spiritual impact of the disease on the patient and the patient’s family and friends.
- Hospice offers a variety of bereavement and counseling services to families before and after a patient’s death.
Hospice agencies are licensed by the state to provide care within the minimum health and safety standards established by regulations and rules. The Department of Health enforces the standards by periodically conducting unannounced surveys of these agencies.
Medicare may pay for services provided by Hospice Agencies who voluntarily seek and are approved for certification by the Federal Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS contracts with the Department of Health to evaluate compliance with the federal hospice regulations by periodically conducting unannounced surveys of these agencies.