When all potential treatments have been exhausted and a person decides it is time to let nature take its course, hospice care provides pain management and emotional support. Hospice focuses on palliative care—care aimed specifically on making patients as comfortable as possible. Hospice care often provides patients with peace of mind, armed with the knowledge that their loved ones are not alone in the struggle to accept death and grieve the loss. That simple yet vital knowledge can make their last days much easier and offer immense emotional relief.

Choosing hospice is a very personal decision. Making the decision to call hospice care for your loved one can be heartbreaking. But in giving your loved one the best end-of-life care possible, hospice is a very good choice. Keep the lines of communication open with your loved one; when they mention hospice, it might be the right time to consider moving forward. Take them at their word and make the call, then trust the highly trained and compassionate hospice workers to help you with whatever comes next.

A patient is probably ready for hospice care when they have decided to forgo any medical treatment in search of a cure and opt instead for purely palliative care. It is important to contact a hospice agency before pain management becomes an issue. Each person's final months and days are unique to that individual. Therefore, setting a certain time frame on how long hospice care will be needed can be difficult. Most insurance companies pay for hospice care during the last six months of life. While some might find hospice useful for that entire period of time, others may prefer to wait until they are closer to the end of their life.

For more information about hospice care in Massachusetts, please click here for a link to the Hospice & Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts.