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Hospice care is carefully designed care that can support the family as well as the patient as they navigate their way through their end stage of life. Each hospice organization provides their own personal touch to helping patients. Typically a patient enters the hospice program once the doctor feels there are six months or less to live. The patient can remain on hospice for a longer period of time with the doctor's recommendation.

Hospice care can be provided at home, in a nursing home or assisted living community, or a family member's home. Hospice can provide an array of care including nursing, social work, help with activities of daily living (ADL) and of course, and a medical physician overseeing the patient's care. Typically hospice will have a nurse on call 24 hours a day. It is always recommended to meet with two or three providers prior to making a decision.

Normally the hospice program will accept the patient's insurance and provide care at no additional charge. They can provide durable medical equipment such as bed, commode, shower chair, walker and wheel chair if needed. It is best to discuss what they have available. Many long term insurance companies cover hospice care if it was included in the original policy. If for some reason the patient needs additional help it may be necessary to hire a non-medical home care company. (See Private Duty Home Care.)

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