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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 Indianapolis, Indiana and Surrounding Areas

    Indianapolis, the largest city in Indiana and its state capital, is located in the center of the state on the White River. Settled in 1820, "Indy" was incorporated as a city in 1832 and saw tremendous growth with the advent of railroads in the 1840s and the automobile industry at the turn of the century. Today, Indianapolis is the twelfth-largest city in the United States, with a steadily-growing population of around 800,000 and a strong, diverse economy supported by manufacturing, agriculture and the service industries. Leading employers in the area include electronics, pharmaceuticals, publishing, food processing and insurance companies. Indianapolis is one of the busiest convention centers in the country.

    Indianapolis Culture

    Cultural attractions in Indianapolis are plentiful. Some of the finest art and artifact collections in the country can be seen at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art and at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The latter is set on 52-acre grounds with the restored mansion of J.K. Lilly Jr., surrounded by beautiful gardens. The city is also home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indiana Repertory Theatre and Indianapolis Civic Theatre.

    Indianapolis Sports and Leisure

    The NBA's Indiana Pacers (18,000-seat Conseco Fieldhouse) and the NFL's Indianapolis Colts (56,000-seat RCA dome) bring major league sports to downtown Indianapolis. Other pro teams include the Fever (WNBA), the Indians (minor league baseball), the Firebirds (Arena Football) and Blast (USL soccer), but the area is best known as the home of the Indianapolis 500 road race and a hotbed of college basketball. A few miles west of downtown, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) packs in more than 250,000 spectators each Memorial Day weekend for the Indy 500, a tradition since 1911. The IMS also houses a Hall of Fame Museum and part of a golf course. Within an hour's drive are perennial NCAA basketball tournament powerhouses Indiana, Indiana State and Purdue. Within a 2-hour drive are Notre Dame, Louisville and Cincinnati.

    Indianapolis Outdoors

    There's a lot to do in the Indiana outdoors. Brown County Park, just 46 miles away in Nashville (IN), is Indiana's largest park, offering 12 miles of hiking trails, cabins and camping facilities, horseback riding, and great lakes for fishing. A 2-hour drive away, the Falls of Ohio State Park on the Ohio River in Clarksville offers fishing, hiking and 386-million-year-old fossils, which can be viewed when the Ohio River recedes in early autumn.

    Indianapolis at Night

    There's always something going on at night downtown; another popular area about a mile away is Fountain Square, a renovated factory loaded with shops, restaurants, bowling alleys and a theatre. Although Indianapolis doesn't have the large student population of comparably sized cities, it has many huge colleges within a reachable radius. Indianapolis ranks among the cleanest, safest, most affordable and easiest-to-get-to cities, making it easy to get-to-know.

    Recognizing Indianapolis

    Indianapolis ranked #6 on BestJobsUsa.com's 2002 list of the Best Places to Live and Work in America and #27 on the Forbes 2004 list of the Best Cities for Singles.