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Hospice Offers Soothing Care at the End of Life

March 31, 2020

For the general public, hospice care has certain connotations about the prognosis of a patient, but what exactly does it mean?

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While hospice care isn’t specific to age, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, in 2017 about 64 percent of Medicare hospice patients were 80 or older, making it a very real end-of-life care option for your aging parents.

About 42,000 people die in Louisiana a year. Of those, 90 percent experience some kind of terminal phase — more than half go through hospice care.

A patient may be referred to a hospice program if it has been determined that they have six months or less to live because of a terminal illness. It doesn’t treat the illness, but the comfort of the patient. Hospice usually isn’t a facility, though some healthcare providers in New Orleans offer inpatient services, but a type of in-home care that employs palliative care, or the mental, physical, and spiritual comfort of a patient.

“All of hospice is palliative care,” says Jamey Boudreaux, executive director of the nonprofit Louisiana-Mississippi Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. But palliative care can begin at diagnosis, in addition to treatment. Hospice care begins after treatment of the disease has ended.

Covered by Medicare Part A, Veterans Affairs benefits, Medicaid, and most private insurances, hospice patients could qualify for doctor and nursing services, medical equipment, medications related to symptom control and pain relief, speech therapy, social work services, bereavement counseling, and more. 

“Hospice is much more than just managing a condition until a patient dies,” Boudreaux says. “It’s easing the process for the patient — emotionally, spiritually, and physically.”

According to Boudreaux, palliative care techniques could be coming to patients with chronic conditions like crohn’s disease and cystic fibrosis, too. A pilot program rolling out to 26 states in 2021 could offer the same soothing-type pain and symptom management used by hospices, but in a hospital setting for patients who visit the doctor at least two to three times in a 12-month period for their condition. The program is currently accepting applications and final details won’t be available until late this summer.

Hospice Care Resources

Louisiana-Mississippi Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Hospice Foundation of America 


Hospice Care Programs

AmeraCare Home Health & Family
303 W. 21st Ave., Covington
– Outpatient Care

Canon Hospice – New Orleans
3600 Prytania St. #46, New Orleans
– Outpatient Care
– Accepts Private Pay/Insurance

Community Hospice
3600 Chestnut St., New Orleans
– Outpatient/Inpatient Care 

1301 W. Causeway Approach, Mandeville
– Outpatient Care
– Accepts Private Pay/Insurance

Louisiana Hospice and Palliative Care of New Orleans
3500 N. Causeway Blvd. #650, Metairie
– Outpatient Care
– Accepts Private Pay/Insurance

Notre Dame Hospice
1000 Howard Ave. f10, New Orleans
– Outpatient Care
– Accepts Private Pay/Insurance

Sanctuary At Passages Hospice
617 Dublin St., New Orleans
– Outpatient Care
– Accepts Private Pay/Insurance

St. Joseph Hospice
507 Upstream St., New Orleans
– Outpatient/Inpatient Care 
– Accepts Private Pay/Insurance

Tim Meyer is managing editor of Nola Boomers and our sister publication, Nola Family.

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