Wholly Healthy: What Does Hospice Care Mean?

Recently, I encouraged a dear great aunt to go into a hospice program. Like so many seniors, she lives alone, is adamant that she wants to do so, and has caregivers who come to help. Her will is strong, her mind sharp but her body is frail. Simple activities like moving around a room are remarkably hard for her. She was hesitant at first. A lot of people are.

So what does it mean to be on hospice? For those unfamiliar, it’s helpful to know that this doesn’t mean that patients stop receiving medical care. It simply means that a patient’s medical condition makes it likely (not certain) that they will die within six months of initiating hospice care. While in hospice, medical care is focused more on patient comfort and on their enjoyment of life rather than on attempts to defeat their ongoing medical conditions.

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