Barbara Fradkin – Hometown News

Can you explain hospice and palliative care?

I often discuss hospice and palliative care with clients who are terminally ill or struggling with serious illness. They usually say, “I’m not ready for that.” Some aren’t ready to acknowledge their true situation and others just don’t understand the services. I then ask, “If you were in total control of your last months of life, what would you want to do?”

After 25 years of talking with people about hospice, I can answer that. You want to be comfortable, in your home and receiving the best care possible. You want to be treated with dignity and compassion. You want your family to be focused on sharing time with you, rather than worrying about your care. So exercise some important options now, to ensure your personal wishes are carried out.

Once a patient is deemed eligible for hospice by their physician, services can begin. Hospice works on symptom management; to prevent or treat the symptoms or side effects of a disease, and compassionately address related psychological, social, and spiritual matters.  A care team works together, to ensure a comfortable and dignified end of life for the patient. Hospice care is covered by insurance.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. It enhances the patient’s complete care by focusing on symptom management and quality of life. Palliative care begins at the discretion of the physician at any stage of illness. A palliative care team works to provide medical, social, emotional, and practical support. Palliative care is also covered by insurance.

Many, many items related to your illness are covered by insurance for hospice and palliative care!  Likewise, multiple types of therapy are covered for palliative purposes–as well as inpatient care for symptoms that cannot be managed at home.

Download your copy of the VITAS Healthcare guide, “Considering Hospice Care: A discussion guide for families” at Believe me, it is never too early for hospice.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director of One Senior Place, Viera.