What is Hospice?

Hospice care is a particular type of compassionate care that addresses all the needs of a person who has a serious illness – Our team member’s work together to meet the medical, emotional, and spiritual needs of patient and their family. The goal of hospice is to improve quality of life for both our patients and the family by providing patients with relief from symptoms, pain, and stress of the illness – whatever the diagnosis. In addition, hospice addresses the needs of the family and friends of the patient to the greatest extent possible so that all concerned can maintain dignity and quality of life. An important part of hospice is that patients and families help decide what care is right for them a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists work with the patient’s other doctors to provide and extra layer of support.

All patients have certain rights to care, which includes:

  • Treatment related to the life-limiting illness that is included in the hospice plan of care, plus medical equipment and supplies, services, and coordination of care.
  • Medications to control the pain and other symptoms of the life-limiting illness.
  • Hospice inpatient care (both acute care and respite care) in a hospice facility.
  • Home visits by hospice staff, plus skilled in-home nursing.
  • Consulting physicians.
  • Volunteer support.
  • Bereavement follow-up.
  • Physicians work with the patient’s doctors. They even make house calls.
  • Nurses visit the patient as often as needed and make arrangements for medications and medical equipment.
  • Nurses’ aides help the patient with bathing, personal care, grooming and comfort.
  • Social workers address legal, financial and emotional issues.
  • Chaplains, if requested, talk about spiritual concerns.
  • Volunteers keep the patient company while family caregivers take a break or run errands.
  • Bereavement or grief counselors assist the family after the death with one-on-one counseling or support
    groups, if desired.

The cost of hospice care is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. Lake Superior Hospice is not-for-profit. That means whatever money is leftover after expenses goes to patient care and community programs, not to investors. No one is ever denied care because of inability to pay.

What patients and families can expect from palliative care:

  • Pain and symptom control: The palliative care team will identify the patient’s
    sources of pain and discomfort. Some of the sources include problems with
    breathing, fatigue, depression, insomnia, or bowel or bladder. After the team
    identifies the source, they will provide treatments that can offer relief. Some
    of the reliefs include medication, along with massage therapy or relaxation
  • Communication and coordination: Palliative care teams are very good at
    communicating with the patient, their family, and the doctors to ensure that
    all needs are met. The team will establish goals for the patients care, aid in
    decision-making and seamless coordination of care.
  • Emotional support: Palliative care dose not just focus on the illness but instead
    focuses on the entire person. The team members will address any spiritual,
    psychological, emotional or social needs the patient and their family may have.
  • Family/caregiver support: The palliative care team understands and supports
    caregivers as they bear a great deal of stress. This understanding and attention
    helps ease some of the strain and can help the family with their decision-making.


1. Palliative Care. Web. 14 Sept. 2011.