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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 Wilmington, North Carolina and Surrounding Areas

Wilmington is located between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean in Hanover County. The city contains a large seaport and is home to the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial. It features a prominent historic district and is close to superb beaches. The city was the childhood residence of basketball star Michael Jordan.

History

The area was established during the 1720's by English settlers. In 1739 the city was incorporated. Lumber produced from the nearby forest as well as naval stores were major factors for the economy during the 18th and 19th Centuries. During the Civil War, the local port was a primary base for Confederate blockade runners. The city was named in tribute to Spencer Compton who was the Earl of Wilmington and held the position of Primer Minister during the reign of George II.

Wilmington was the scene of the notorious "Massacre of 1898," a violent assault by a group of Caucasians which began with the destruction of a printing press of the African-American newspaper called the Daily Record. They proceeded to set the building on fire. The mob then entered an African-American neighborhood and lynched numerous residents and forced hundreds of African-Americans to leave town. The primary factor for the attack was an editorial in the Daily Record which was interpreted by some of the white citizens as being insulting to white womanhood. After the violent attack, the mayor along with the city council was pushed out of office and the leader of the white gang became the mayor.

Transportation

The city is home to the Wilmington International Airport.

Attractions

  • USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial.
  • Cape Fear Museum.
  • Bellamy Mansion features antebellum architecture.
  • Airlie Gardens incudes lakes and the Historic Airlie Oak.
  • Burgwin-Wright House.
  • The Cape Fear Serpentarium features a vast number of snakes from all over the world.
  • Latimer House Museum.
  • Wilmington Railroad Museum.
  • North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.
  • Sunset Park Historic District.

Activities

  • Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Cultural Arts Building at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington contains a music recital hall, two theaters as well as an art gallery.
  • The EUE Screen Gems Studio offers tours to the public.
  • Wilmington Symphony Orchestra.
  • Wilmington Exchange Festival.
  • North Carolina Jazz Festival is host to world famous jazz musicians.
  • Wrightsville Beach.
  • Carolina Beach.
  • Kure Beach.
  • Marrz Theatre.
  • Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington.

Wilmington Public Libraries

New Hanover County Public Library
201 CHESTNUT STREET
Wilmington, North Carolina
(910) 772-7859
Library Web Site

Wilmington Hospitals

NEW HANOVER REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
(Government - Local)
2131 S 17TH ST BOX 9000
(910) 343-7000
Emergency Service: Yes