What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care
  • Balance comfort measures and treatments for cure or control of serious disease
  • Focuses on achieving the best possible quality of life through:
* Relief of suffering
* Control of symptoms
* Making the most of your ability to carry out day-to-day activities
  • May start at the time of diagnosis of a serious illness and be provided throughout the course of the illness
 What palliative care services are covered?
  • Eligibility for palliative care services is determined by the payer (Medicare, Medicaid, VA or other 3rd party insurance company); availability of palliative care services may vary across the country
  • Palliative care services vary depending on the payer and may include:  
* Comfort care consultations and follow-up visits by interdisciplinary team members and volunteers
* Assessment and treatment plan recommendations
* Support for medical decision-making
* Visits at home, hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility
* Consultation with your physician(s)
* Telephone check-in calls when appropriate
* Practical assistance from trained volunteers when appropriate
* Information, referrals and care coordination to access community resources


Hospice provides appropriate skilled, compassionate care to patients and their families so that they receive the support, help and guidance they need to meet the challenges of serious illness. A personalized plan of care incorporating what is important to the patient and the caregiver is developed. It is sensitive to their needs and emphasizes quality of life, and assists patients to live as fully and comfortably as possible. The philosophy of care called hospice has been practiced in New York State for more than two decades.

  • Embraces all patients coping with advanced illnesses
  • Focuses on comfort rather than cure
  • Emphasizes quality of life
  • Promotes personal choice and individual dignity
  • Respects the traditions and wishes of the patient and the patient's family
  • Most often provides care in the patient's home, but when necessary, can also provide care in a nursing home and and inpatient setting
  • Utilizes current treatments and medications
  • Addresses physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs
  • Provides care and support to the bereaved 

Hospice Medicare Benefit

Coping with a terminal illness can be a difficult enough experience without having to worry about pain management, medication costs, and assistance with caregiving. Surprisingly, many Medicare beneficiaries are unaware that Medicare‘s all-inclusive Hospice Benefit is available to assist dying patients and their families with these issues at the end of life. Hospice care offers a team-oriented approach to medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support tailored to the dying patient‘s needs and wishes. For patients who qualify, Medicare will pay for this kind of comprehensive end-of-life care delivered at home or in a hospice facility. The Medicare benefit includes many services not generally covered by Medicare and more than 90 percent of the more than 2,500 hospices in the United States are certified by Medicare.

Medicare Hospice Benefit Information

Choosing hospice care is a difficult decision. The information in the booklet and support from a doctor and trained hospice care team can help you choose the most appropriate health care options for someone who's terminally ill. This official government booklet for Medicare hospice benefits includes information about:
  • Who is legible for Hospice care
  • What services are included
  • How to find a Hospice program
  • Where to get more information