What is Hospice?

A hospice program is a coordinated program of palliative and supportive services provided in both home and inpatient settings for persons in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and as comfortably as possible. The program emphasizes the management of pain and other physical symptoms, the management of psychosocial problems and the spiritual comfort of the patient and the patient's family or significant other. Services are provided by a medically-directed interdisciplinary team of health care providers and volunteers.

Where are Hospice Services Provided?

Hospice is provided in a patient home, hospice residence, hospital, long term care and assisted living facility and in a VA Hospital or VA Nursing Home. Some VA facilities have dedicated hospice units that provide a home-like setting.

How is Hospice Provided?

A team develops a care plan that meets each patient's individual needs for pain management and symptom control. The team usually consists of:

  • The patient' s personal physician;
  • Hospice physician (or medical director);
  • Nurses;
  • Home health aides;
  • Social workers;
  • Clergy or other counselors;
  • Trained volunteers;
  • Speech, physical, and occupational therapists, if needed.
  • Bereavement services for at least one year following the death

Are there other Supportive Services?

Yes. Respite Care, Anticipatory Grief Support for the Veteran and Family or Significant Intimates and Post-death Bereavement Support for the Family or Significant Intimates are available. 

What is Respite Care?

Respite care is a program that provides veterans with short-term services to give the caregiver a period of relief from the demands of daily care for the chronically ill or disabled veteran or the terminally ill veteran. Respite care is planned in advance for the benefit of the caregiver, and is coordinated through a social worker at the local VA facility.

How can I participate in HVP?

For more information about starting or joining an HVP, contact Jill Dunmire Siddiq at 216-791-3800 ext. 6627 or email jill.dunmiresiddiq@va.gov or Carole Quackenbush at 513.657.8867 or email carole.quackenbush@vitas.com. For more information about the VA Hospice and Palliative Care Initiative contact Diane Jones at (202) 273-8379 or Diane.Jones@hq.med.va.gov.

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