Hospice is a special type of end-of-life care, which is specifically targeted for individuals with terminal illnesses. Hospice care focuses on maintaining comfort and quality of life for the individual, without either prolonging or shortening the course of the illness. It can occur in an in-patient or an out-patient facility, or at home, allowing individuals to choose how to receive care. The choice to begin hospice care is a difficult one, and should be made in consultation with a physician and family and friends. Oftentimes, hospice will require a physician’s referral and must always involve a conscious and informed decision to discontinue medical treatment.
Hospice care can also includes a component designed for families and friends of the individual, including caregiver training classes, support groups and grief counseling. These aspects are intended to help ease the pain of an individual’s passing in both physical and emotional senses.
Hospice care is often covered by private insurance, and is a defined benefit under Medicaid and Medicare. In Colorado, hospice care facilities are regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. CDPHE licenses all legally operating hospice care facilities in the state, and conducts regular inspections for both the health and safety of patients. Their website contains a current listing of all licensed facilities, inspection reports, and the ability to file a complaint against a specific facility.