Hospice Care

Hospice Care

What is hospice?

Considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care at the end-of-life, hospice involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient's needs and wishes. Support is extended to the patient's loved ones, as well. We believe that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families should receive the necessary support to allow us to do so. Our focus is on caring, not curing, and in most cases, care is provided wherever the patient calls “home”.

The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient's individual needs for pain management and symptom control. The team usually consists of:

The person receiving care

The person’s family/caregiver

The person’s personal physician and/or hospice physician

(or medical director)


Home health aides

Social workers

Counselors and spiritual caregivers

Trained volunteers

Other professionals, such as speech, physical, and occupational therapists, as needed

Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. Members of the SHG hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. SHG Hospice staff are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When is it time for hospice?

It is time for hospice when a person is ready to focus on living fully at the end of his or her life. Many patients are referred too late to benefit fully from all the services offered through hospice. Generally, it is time for hospice when a patient is expected to live six months or less. SHG Hospice suggests erring on the side of earlier access. If in doubt, call SHG Hospice to discuss your personal situation.

Who is eligible for hospice?

There are no age or disease restrictions for hospice. Let's address a few common misconceptions. Many people associate hospice with cancer. Actually, only half of hospice patients have cancer. Heart disease; end-stage lung, kidney or liver disease; Alzheimer's, ALS; or any disease in a life-limiting phase are eligible for hospice. In addition, patients experiencing serious multi-symptom decline involving severe cases of poor nutrition, weight loss, inactivity, and mental impairment (also referred to as "failure to thrive") are also eligible for hospice care.

What are the benefits of hospice?

The SHG Hospice team's overwhelming goal is to see patients live with dignity and quality.

Common hospice services include:

Providing pain management and symptom control.

Assessing and managing all physical symptoms related to the illness such as pain, nausea, anxiety, fatigue, or shortness of breath.

Offering on-call availability to meet the needs of both patients and families. Our staff lives in the same county so we are close when you need us.

Creating an individualized plan that will enable the patient and family to achieve their goals with dignity and peace.

Helping the patient and family navigate through end-of-life decisions, such as advance directives, do-not-resuscitate orders, or funeral planning.

Addressing emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of coping with a serious illness.

Honoring specific customs of all ethnic cultural, and religious backgrounds.

Memorializing the patient's life through journaling.

Providing bereavement support for family.

Who pays for hospice care?
Medicare pays 100% of allowable charges from SHG Hospice, including charges for medications, durable medical equipment, medical supplies, respite care, and inpatient care related to the hospice diagnosis. Most private insurance plans also offer hospice coverage. SHG Hospice will work with the patient and family to resolve financial concerns.