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What Is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is a type of specialized care for someone who is suffering from a terminal illness, usually with a life expectancy under six months. The care focuses on improving the patient’s quality of life during their remaining time, on reducing their pain and making them as comfortable as possible, without attempting to cure the disease. It usually includes emotional and spiritual support as well, in addition to attending to the physical needs of the patient.

Hospice care can be provided in the terminally ill person’s home or in a residential hospice facility, hospital, nursing home or other long-term care facility.

Hospice care in the home can be provided for the duration of the person’s life or only during those times when the patient has a crisis and needs more care than their family member or other caregiver can provide.

Hospice care provided in a residential facility can be provided when the patient’s symptoms can no longer be controlled at home, or can be used for respite care, when the regular caregiver needs a break or can’t cope with the situation.

What Is Hospice Care Like?

When you need hospice care, an entire team is usually assigned to work with you. This team will develop a unique care plan just for you to help control any symptoms or pain you may experience, and to provide you with the emotional or spiritual support you need.

The hospice team usually consists of your family, regular caregiver if you have one, your personal physician, a hospice doctor, nurses, home health aides, social workers, counselors and spiritual caregivers. Sometimes your team may include volunteers and other professionals like speech or physical therapists, if you need this type of therapy.

When you receive hospice care, your hospice team will make regular visits to check on you. and provide additional care or other services as needed. Members of the team are usually on call around the clock, seven days a week. This applies regardless of whether you are receiving care at home, in a nursing home, or some other type of long-term care facility.

Hospice care is usually covered 100% by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. Under Medicare, hospice care covers medications, medical equipment, access to care around the clock, nursing, social services, and grief support, and possibly other services that are seen as necessary based on your needs.

What to Expect from Hospice Care?

Services

Hospice care will vary depending on each individual’s specific needs. These will be determined by your hospice team and spelled out in a care plan customized for you. Hospice care often includes the following as needed:

  • Physician services
  • Regular visits by registered nurses and licensed practical nurses to monitor your condition, to provide care and to make sure you are comfortable
  • Home health aide and homemaker services to take care of personal needs
  • Chaplain services for the you and your loved ones
  • Social work and counseling services
  • Grief counseling for your family and friends
  • Medical equipment such as a hospital bed
  • Medical supplies such as catheters
  • Medications to control any symptoms or pain
  • Volunteer support
  • Physical, speech and occupational therapy
  • Alternative therapies like music therapy
  • Dietary counseling

Levels of Care and Costs

Hospice care is usually provided and the costs covered based on the following four levels established by Medicare:

  • Routine Home Care – This end-of-life care is provided when the patient’s symptoms are under control at their place of residence, whether they are in their own private home, or in assisted living, a nursing home or other type of long-term care facility.
  • Crisis Care –This type of care is provided for short periods of time when the patient experiences a medical or psychosocial crisis. This is typically provided at the patient’s residence, in a nursing home or in a hospice facility.
  • Inpatient Respite Care – This type of care is provided when the family or other caregiver needs a break. The patient can be temporarily placed in a hospice facility for up to five days.
  • General Inpatient Care – This type of care is provided by hospice centers, hospitals and nursing homes when the patient’s symptoms can’t be controlled at home.

Introduction to Charlottesville, Virginia and Surrounding Areas

The central Virginia city of Charlottesville is nestled at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, approximately 70 miles northwest of Richmond and 100 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. Established as a town in 1762 and incorporated as an independent city in 1888, Charlottesville is autonomous and not subservient to any county or other political subdivision. Major highways through Charlottesville are U.S. Route 250, U.S. Route 29, and Interstate 64.

Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia, which was founded in 1819 by native son Thomas Jefferson. Consistently listed among the top ten public universities nationwide, the university is a strong factor in the city's community life and serves as the area's focal point for cultural and sporting events. Steeped in historic value, the Charlottesville area lays claim to having raised three ex-Presidents (Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, and James Madison), whose former homes are now historic sites and architectural wonders which attract thousands of visitors every year.

Owing largely to the presence of the university, the technology industry is a continuously growing staple of the local economy. More traditional industries like agriculture are also prominent in the region, which embodies nearly 200,000 acres of orchards, vineyards, and cattle farms. The region's fastest growing industry is the grape business. Local wines and vineyards are nationally recognized and the area is highly ranked among the country's wine producers. Another significant local industry is horse farming, as evidenced by the more than 13,000 horses stabled in the city and surrounding county.

Things to do and see in Charlottesville

Nearly two million travelers per year visit the Charlottesville area to see the area's historic sites and take in the spectacular scenery of Central Virginia. Perched on a nearby mountain overlooking the city is Monticello, the former home of Thomas Jefferson, which offers tours and hosts special events and ceremonies. Only a mile down the road from Monticello is Ash Lawn-Highland, former home of James Monroe. Here visitors can explore beautiful gardens and enjoy the Ash Lawn Opera Festival, which offers six to eight weeks of full-length opera and musical theatre productions. About 45 minutes north of Charlottesville is Montpelier, the former home of James and Dolly Madison. This is a 2,750-acre estate that includes racecourses, a National Landmark Forest, active archaeological sites, and more than 130 buildings.

Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County are a paradise for nature lovers. Skyline Drive and The Blue Ridge Parkway offer breathtaking views of valleys and mountains to tourists who don't even need to leave their cars. Hikers can enjoy the many short and long trails which wind through the woods off these roads. Charlottesville is also home to a large number of parks with playgrounds, picnic areas, public tennis courts, and swimming pools. Other popular area activities are hot air balloon rides, golf at world-class resorts, and tours of one of the many local vineyards in the area, a few of which are listed here:

  • Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery
  • DelFosse Vineyards and Winery
  • Jefferson Vineyards
  • Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard

Charlottesville has an active art, music and theater scene. The Downtown Mall, one of the longest outdoor pedestrian malls in the country, is the location of the Virginia Discovery Museum. A 3,500 seat Charlottesville Pavilion Amphitheater attracts big name acts to the area. The newly renovated Paramount Theater hosts Broadway shows and concerts by nationally-known entertainers. The city also hosts an annual Virginia Festival of the Book, and is home to many prominent writers including John Grisham and Rita Mae Brown, as well as former home to Edgar Alan Poe and William Faulkner.

Charlottesville has no professional sports teams, but local sports fans are captivated by the University of Virginia Cavaliers, who have a wide fan base across the region. Cavalier football games are played in Scott Stadium, which is also used as a venue for large concerts by such artists as the Rolling Stones and the Dave Matthews Band. The John Paul Jones Arena, which opened in 2006, is where the University of Virginia basketball teams play their games. This new stadium is one of the largest in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Not surprisingly, The University of Virginia has an active athletic rivalry with Virginia Tech. An even older rivalry (often referred to as "The South's Oldest Rivalry") exists between the Cavaliers and the University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels.

Horseracing fans can enjoy the exciting world of steeplechase racing, held every fall and spring at The Foxfield Races.

Charlottesville Public Libraries

Jefferson-madison Regional Library
201 EAST MARKET STREET
Charlottesville, Virginia
(434) 979-7151
Library Web Site

Charlottesville Hospitals

MARTHA JEFFERSON HOSPITAL
(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
459 LOCUST AVE
(804) 982-7000
Emergency Service: Yes

University of Virginia Health System
(Government - State)
1215 Lee St, Charlottesville, VA 22908
(434) 924-0211
Emergency Service: Yes