End of Life Planning

2/20/2023 | By Seniors Guide Staff

When the news broke that President Jimmy Carter had entered hospice care, many people wanted to exactly what that meant. 

Understanding hospice care

Hospice services are designed to maximize quality of life for patients who are suffering from a disease or condition that cannot be cured and have a life expectancy of six months or less. This type of care is palliative, which means it relieves and controls pain and other symptoms as well as provides emotional and spiritual support without attempting to cure the disease. The goal is that a person remain as alert and comfortable as possible in the last stages of life, able to engage with those around them.

Former President Carter, 98 years old, entered home hospice care in Plains, Georgia, a statement from The Carter Center stated on Feb. 18, 2023.

After a series of short hospital stays, the statement said, Carter “decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention.”

Learn more about hospice care and other palliative care needs

Who cares for you?

Generally your primary caregiver will be a family member or someone else who is close to you, with members of the team making regular visits to assess your condition and provide additional care. Staff are on call round-the-clock, should you need them. The team generally includes:

  •     Physician (or medical director)
  •     Nurses
  •     Home health aides
  •     Social workers
  •     Clergy or other counselors
  •     Trained volunteers
  •     Speech, physical, and occupational therapists, if needed.

Where can you get hospice care?

Most people assume that these end-of-life services are only available at home. While this is the primary location for this type of care, you can also receive care at a dedicated center, in a hospital or a skilled nursing facility.

How does the service help family members?

In addition to support services for family members, hospice programs also provide respite care when caregivers require temporary care – whether to recharge their batteries or for any other reason. Respite care is often offered in up to five-day periods. Hospice programs also generally offer bereavement services for up to a year after a patient’s death.

Related: Five ways to know when hospice care is right

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.