Hospice is a special way of caring for people who are terminally ill, and for their families. This care includes physical care and counseling. Hospice care is given by a public agency or private company approved by Medicare. It is for all age groups, including children, adults and the elderly during their final stages of life. The goal of hospice is to care for you and your family and to help you make the most of the last months of life by giving comfort and relief from pain.

Among those that are eligible for Medicare hospice benefits are those who:

  • Are eligible for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance);
  • Are certified by the doctor and the hospice medical director as terminally ill and probably have less than six months to live;
  • Have signed a statement choosing hospice care instead of routine Medicare covered benefits for the terminal illness;
  • Have received care from a Medicare-approved hospice program;
  • Choose not to pursue aggressive treatment.

Your doctor and the hospice will work with you and your family to set up a plan of care that meets your needs. The plan of care can include the following services:

  • Physician services
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Social worker services
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Home health aide and homemaker services
  • Dietary counseling
  • Respite care
  • Spiritual care