A Team Approach

Our hospice team strives to improve the quality of a person's last days. Our goal is to help our patients live out each and every day to the best of their ability and keep them in the comfort of their own home, if at all possible.

Hospice care at UChicago Medicine offers a team-oriented approach that assists patients and their families with the physical, emotional, social, spiritual and grief needs they may have as we go through this journey together.

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Our interdisciplinary hospice team:

  • Manages the patient's pain and symptoms
  • Assists the patient with the emotional, physical, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of dying
  • Provides needed drugs, medical supplies and equipment
  • Coaches the family on how to care for the patient
  • Delivers special services like speech and physical therapy when needed
  • Makes short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time
  • Provides bereavement care and counseling to surviving family and friends

Patients of any age who have an end-stage disease process, generally with a life expectancy of six months or less, are eligible for hospice care. Medicare, Medicaid, most HMO's and private insurance generally cover all hospice expenses. No patient will ever be denied hospice care because of an inability to pay. Patients and their families have the option of canceling hospice care at any time if a condition improves, or if other choices are desired.

Hospice patients receive the best possible care by a multidisciplinary team of skilled, compassionate professionals:

• The patient's primary care physician
• Hospice physician or medical director
• Registered nurses
• Hospice aides
• Physical, occupational and speech therapists
• Music therapist
• Social Worker
• Spiritual counselors
• Volunteers
• Inpatient Hospice option

For patients unable to be cared for at home, our inpatient hospice unit delivers compassionate care in comfortable, home-like surroundings for both patient and family including amenities such as unrestricted visiting hours, sleeping and lounge areas, visitation by a family pet and more.

Medicare has set specific guidelines for levels of care to qualify for an admission to an inpatient hospice setting, which most private insurance companies follow. Some examples of approved inpatient placement may include:

• Pain control or medication adjustment
• Acute or chronic symptom management that cannot be provided in other settings
• Short-term stay to stabilize a crisis situation
• Stabilizing treatment prior to discharge home

Respite care is another Medicare-approved level of hospice care that may be provided in the inpatient setting. The respite benefit provides up to five consecutive days of inpatient care to provide relief to those at home who may require a break from the duties of caring for a loved one with an irreversible illness.

Bereavement support is offered to family and friends for up to 13 months after the end of hospice care. Bereavement support groups are also open to anyone in the community who has suffered a loss.

Volunteer Opportunities

Our dedicated staff of volunteers offer invaluable assistance by: providing support to patients and families, running light errands, filing, answering phones and other clerical duties, preparing bereavement mailings and contributing bereavement support and staffing information desks. 

If you would like to become a volunteer, please call 708-331-1360.