The concept of hospice as an interdisciplinary approach to providing comprehensive end of life care began in Great Britain during the 1960’s. It made its way into the United States during the 1970’s and, in contrast to European hospices that delivered care in designated hospice facilities, was modeled to provide care in the patients home environment.
As the hospice movement grew, lobbyists began to seek funding for care. This led to the Medicare Hospice Benefit in 1982. The Medicare benefit has served as the basis of the hospice model of care in the US and as a model for Medicaid (Medi-cal) and private insurance provision and reimbursement.
Hospice strives to provide support and care for terminally ill patients and their families near the end of a patient’s life. The goal of this care (also known as palliative care) is to help provide relief from the physical pain and symptoms of the terminal illness and to provide support for the emotional, spiritual, and social challenges associate with the end of life.
Any terminally ill patient, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, creed, national origin, physical or mental disabilities, diagnosis, social status, sexual orientation, place of residence, or the ability to pay, who meets the admission criteria is eligible to receive hospice care and services. A patient must be diagnosed with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less, as determined by the patient’s physician and the hospice medical director. People are often surprised to find that hospice provides care for patients with life limiting illnesses and diseases other than cancer.
Hospice is provided in the patient’s home surrounded by family and friends. The patient’s home may be their personal place of residence, their residence at a family member’s home, an assisted living or personal care home, or a nursing home.
In most cases, Medicare, Medicaid or your insurance company pays for hospice services and care as a medical benefit. This benefit enables patients and their families to receive hospice services related to the terminal illness at no cost. However, Camellia does not discriminate against any patient who needs hospice care but does not have the ability to pay.