Why Hospice?

Hospice vs. Palliative Care

To be highly specific, the root of the word ​"hospice" comes from the Latin hospos which means hospitality or welcome.  

The word "hospice" strikes fear in the hearts of the community, and for a fair reason: no one wants to die or have their loved one die, and hospice has become synonymous with tears and heartbreak.  Decline and death is very lonely from the patient's AND the caregiver(s) perspective.  What hospice care seeks to provide is a knowledgeable, consistent, and compassionate support system for the patient and family so that fear need not override every last moment.

When you or a loved one has received a terminal diagnosis, this means that, according to research, the illness which afflicts the body will cause death if the disease runs its normal course.  

The care hospice provides does not hasten death. And conversely, the care hospice provides does not postpone death.

The care hospice does provide creates an environment in which the patient and family may be comfortable, soothed, and given support to discuss and be prepared for the decline and death.

Hospice Means Death... Right?

     Hospice is a support system for patients and their loved ones.  The program of services hospice provides are tailored to the needs of the patient and their families when the patient's life expectancy is six months or less.  Saint Verena Hospice Care understands patients with a terminal diagnosis are apprehensive about the physical decline, the mental stress, the emotional upheaval, the social shift, the spiritual unknown that the end of life represents.  

     Saint Verena Hospice Care is like a healthcare concierge service.  Our nurses, doctors, therapists, aides, and volunteers all come to you, wherever you are. Necessary medical supplies and equipment are delivered to you.   Prescriptions and nutritional supplements are delivered to you. By removing these stressors from our patient's and their family's lives, we seek to provide a calm, prepared environment for the rest of our patient's lives.

Hospice Care can be provided for as long as you need it.  The time constraint of "six months or less" only refers to the medical opinion that the terminal illness will cause death within six months or less.  A patient may have the blessing of living beyond this "six month" period, and hospice care can be re-certified indefinitely, as long as the patient's illness remains classified as "terminal".  

Once you have elected your hospice benefit, a time period begins known as a "certification period".  This certification period in the first lasts for 60 days.  At the end of the 60 days, should the patient be living still with a terminal diagnosis, the primary physician will re-certify for a second certification period, lasting for 90 days.  At the end of each successive certification period, another certification period begins with the doctor's approval.   There is no lifetime maximum benefit for hospice care or coverage.  

      Medical care that the general public is accustomed to receiving is known as cure-oriented treatment, meaning the treatments and services provided are to eradicate the cause of illness.  These treatments involve medications, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, gene therapy, organ transplantation, and life-saving measures like intubation and cardipulmonary resuscitation.  

           Medical care under the heading of hospice is known as care-oriented treatment.  This type of care neither hastens nor postpones death, but the focus of care is no longer on "curing the disease" but on alleviating the symptoms and/or pain associated with the disease so that the patient may be comfortable. 

"Hospice" and "Palliative Care" are not interchangable terms.     Palliative Care refers to care that is provided that focuses only on making and keeping the patient comfortable.  Palliative care may be provided to any patient suffering a debilitating illness or injury. Palliative care may be provided concurrently with cure-focused treatment.  

    Hospice Care is a subfocus of palliative care, wherein the soothing care is provided to those patients whose illness will severely limit life expectancy to six months or less, if the illness was to run its normal course.  The cure-focused treatment ceases when hospice care is elected.

Contact Saint Verena Hospice Care

Hospice Certification Periods

What is Hospice Care?

Care vs. Cure

How to Choose a

Hospice Provider

      Hospice is a program of health care and services designed to provide support and understanding to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatment.

Choosing a hospice provider can be a very personal decision. Here are some basic guidelines to ensure your chosen hospice provider is right for you and your family:


  • The provider is in your geographic location. It is important that your hospice care team can arrive at your residence within a comfortable time frame in the event of a crisis or the decline.
  • The provider is certified and accredited by government and generally accepted organizations. The federal and state governments have certification programs which ensure hospice programs provide a uniform, baseline standard of care across the population.  Organizations can further ensure the quality of care a hospice program provides by conducting a throrough survey of the hospice operations  and providing excellent hospice care providers with a certificate of compliance.
  • The provider has the services the patient needs. Certain hospice programs may be specialized in geriatric care, pediatric care, end-stage cancer care, or other focus areas.  Still others will have the training and expertise necessary for the care of all end-stage and terminal diagnoses.
  • The provider makes you feel comfortable. A hospice provider will be with you in what may be the hardest and saddest times of your life.  You need to feel that they are there to provide the care, support, and decorum these situations require.