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Health & Balance

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Hospice Care - Considering Hospice Care

Hospice care for special situations

Some people are living with a terminal illness that is not predictable. They may not necessarily die within 6 months. In fact, they may live for several years. But they may still be eligible for hospice care.

There are guidelines for terminal diseases that have an unpredictable course. People who have the following illnesses may have hospice care when their disease has reached an advanced stage:

Many people who are living with a disease that has an unpredictable but still terminal course may also want and be able to receive hospice care. In some of these cases, Medicare might not cover hospice care costs. Medicare covers the cost of hospice in the last 6 months of life.

How to talk to your family and medical team

If you feel that you need to ask questions and explore your options about end-of-life care, including hospice, don't wait for your doctor or loved ones to bring up the subject. Be open and direct with your loved ones and your health professionals.

Your doctor can go over hospice care and other options with you. He or she can explain the pros and cons of each of them, answer questions, and advise you. Then you can think about the kinds of treatments you would or would not want in different situations. This can help you get a clear idea of your wishes.

You can make many choices about your end-of-life care ahead of time. Making plans while you are still able may ease your mind and make your final days more peaceful.

Write down any questions you have about hospice care to discuss with your doctor during your next visit. Let your family and doctor know what you decide so they can help carry out your wishes.

The goals of hospice

One goal of hospice is to allow you to live out your life without further treatment for your illness, as naturally as possible. You'll get medical care to provide comfort rather than to prolong life.

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