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Hospice care: the business of providing a dignified death

CarleeMcCullough-160ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY Be strong. Fight until the end. Never give up. Continue to pray.

If anyone close to you has ever experienced a life-threatening illness or accident, such phrases may have been used as encouragement.

Still, death is inevitable, with the business of providing a dignified death known as hospice care. Although often thought of as a physical place, hospice is a specific type of healthcare with the primary focus of providing the patient with comfort and palliative care. Palliative care refers to the relief of the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness. Once the doctor and patient are in agreement that the illness can not be reversed, hospice care becomes a consideration.

Hospice care may be provided in the home or in a hospital, assisted living, veterans, prison or a long-term facility. Hospice is not designed to hasten or prevent death. It is an option that provides the patient with management of pain and symptoms, an increased quality of life, and also emotional and spiritual support. Ultimately, terminally ill patients in hospice are given the opportunity to choose the end-of-life care received.

From a business perspective, hospice care is a multimillion-dollar. Businesses are compensated based on enrollment. With little to no expenses earmarked for a cure, the profit margins tend to be great. A very profitable hospice business can be established with the appropriate resources, a solid business plan and knowledge of the industry or affiliation with professionals that possess the requisite knowledge.



Medicare, Medicaid, private pay benefits

Hospice care is a fast-growing business segment. Historically, non-profits have flourished and provided the bulk of care. However, for-profit hospice organizations are growing rapidly and giving the non-profits increased competition. The rising interest in hospice care is partly fueled by the fact that Medicare, Medicaid and private pay insurance companies provide a fee per day of care. Typically, hospice provides prescriptions, medical equipment, round the clock access to care and support.

Length of care

Patients diagnosed with six months or less to live and little hope of curing the illness are the target market for hospice care. While the length of stay may be more or less, a doctor's certification of the terminal illness is required to maintain the continued hospice care. More than one million people receive hospice benefits annually.

Referral relationships

The most successful hospice organizations have developed relationships with physicians, hospitals and nursing homes for referrals. Patients can revoke hospice care in the case of improved health, such as if the patient goes into remission. They can reenter hospice care if their health declines and they meet the required criteria for care.


Cancer is one of the primary illnesses that patients have in hospice care. Advanced heart, lung, or renal diseases are just a few of the other illnesses that may require hospice care.

Palliative care

Over the last few years, hospices have moved toward palliative care, which primarily focuses on the reduction of symptoms. Early palliative care can actually improve longevity. Many professionals believe that the decrease in stress and discomfort helps to extend life for those with advanced illnesses.

Hospice team and the plan

The hospice team may consist of a medical director, nurse, social worker, home health aide, spiritual counselor and volunteers who support the plan of the patient during their alliative care. A comprehensive, individualized care plan is prepared for every patient. The plan is customized for the individual and may change as the patient's care needs change.

Businesses with a focus on senior housing or healthcare are on the rise. So with focus and dedication, hospice care is a definitely a business to consider.

(Contact Carlee McCullough, Esq., at 5308 Cottonwood Road, Suite 1A, Memphis, TN 38118, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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