Hospice & Palliative Care

nurses with capes

Hospice & Palliative Care


BJ Miller, MD and Sonya Dolan, Founders of MEttle Health

In this info-packed interview, we learn all about palliative care: what it is, how to access, when and why. WATCH HERE.

All About Hospice

What is hospice? How do you access it? How do you pay? What to expect…

hands holding heart

Hospice is care that focuses on quality of life for people with an anticipated life expectancy of 6 months or less.

Hospice does NOT focus on curative therapies or medical intervention.

Hospice provides an interdisciplinary team that supports physical, social, and spiritual needs of the patient, and also provide support to family members and caregivers.

Hospice is NOT round the clock care unless it is administered in a hospice home. Hospice generally requires a family caregiver to be actively involved in care.

Hospice care includes visits to the patient and family caregivers by nurses and other members of the hospice team. Hospice providers are also available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Hospice also includes grief and loss counselling. 

Hospice is a Medicare benefit; to which all Medicare enrollees have a right. Hospice care is typically covered by private health insurance at varying levels, and in almost every state, by Medicaid. Military families have hospice coverage through Tricare.

Many families wait longer than they should or could to start hospice. Hospice can be used for months, as long as medical eligibility is met. Some misinformed people think choosing hospice means giving up. But know that people can come off hospice if they choose to either because they change their mind about treatment or start to feel better.

If the patient’s goal is to live as comfortably as possible and forgo cure-based treatments then hospice is a great option. Family caregivers will receive much needed support as the patient receives comfort care.

Hospice typically includes medication for symptom control and pain relief and medical equipment such as hospital beds, wheelchairs and walkers, bath chairs and benches, medical supplies such as bandages and catheters.

Many doctors will not bring up hospice care so family member and patients may have to initiate the conversation and ask about hospice.

To qualify for hospice services, a hospice physician and a second physician (could be the primary care physician, a specialist, or an attending physician at a hospital) must certify that the patient meets the medical eligibility criteria.  

Self and family referral is possible as long as eligibility is  confirmed by physicians.

The Conversation Project

Free guides to help people share their wishes for care through the end of life.

American Cancer Society

Information on hospice for cancer patients.

Palliative Care v. Hospice Care

Information from the National Institute on Aging.

National Hospice & Palliative Care Org

Find a provider.