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Ask the Senior Care Expert | What is hospice?

Hospice is a topic about which there much confusion. Hospice care is a relatively recent development in health care. Hospice care started in England in the late 40’s and brought to the United States in the 60’s. Unfortunately, many people have the idea that hospice is a place where people go in their last days.

Tim Golden, BrightStar Care

Hospice is not a place but rather a philosophy of care. While under hospice care the focus is on comfort and dignity rather than on cure. Hospice is for people for whom a cure may not be a reasonable hope but who want to be able to maximize their quality of life.

A common misconception about hospice, as mentioned earlier in this article, is that hospice is a place. Most people are unaware that the vast majority of hospice care takes place in the home. A nurse comes by as often as is necessary, maybe once a week or perhaps more frequently, to monitor the patient. Usually, while the patient is receiving in-home hospice care the hospice agency will send a caregiver to assist with bathing one or more times per week. So, the beauty of this concept to me is that most hospice patients can stay in their homes and receive care there instead of having to go to an inpatient facility. Yes, there are inpatient hospice facilities, although not as many in our community as there were even a couple of years ago. Inpatient hospices are usually for patients in critical situations. One can receive hospice care at home and when appropriate, the patient can move to an inpatient facility and receive 24/7 care and monitoring. In some cases, a critical hospice patient can stay in their home and also receive that additional care. When interviewing hospice agencies don’t be afraid to ask about what happens and where your loved one will receive care when the loved one’s condition deteriorates and more care is needed.

People want to know who pays for hospice care. Most hospice care is paid for through the Medicare hospice benefit. So usually the expense of hospice care is covered.

Something else that’s really important to know is that hospice treats the whole person not just the physical. Hospices have counselors/chaplains on staff to assist with patients and families dealing with the deep spiritual aspects of being under end of life care.

Where can you get more information? Like virtually every topic I write about in this monthly article, the topic of hospice care is far too vast a topic to even begin to cover fully in these few paragraphs I get to write. Fortunately, there are lots of resources available. You can do your research online at (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization). You can also google hospices to find a list of providers in your area. Your doctor, of course, can be a great resource in finding a quality hospice agency. Also, you can always call me, Tim Golden The Senior Care Expert, with your questions.

Tim Golden is the owner of BrightStar Care, Lawrenceville. You can reach Tim at (404)281-1537 or by emailing For more information please visit

Tim Golden
BrightStar Care

PO Box 634
Lawrenceville, GA 30046