The Philosophy of Hospice

At SSM Health at Home, we believe in the innate value of human life, in the potential for self-growth during and after times of crisis, and in the right of each human being to direct their health care decisions.

While death is a natural occurrence, dying itself can be a major life crisis. Coping with crisis and stress may vary widely among individuals. Hospice views each patient as a whole, with attention to physical, psychological and interpersonal needs.

The primary goal of hospice is comfort, care and quality of life after reasonable measures for cure have failed. This is accomplished through a team approach including the physician, nurses, social worker, aides, volunteers, spiritual counselors and bereavement staff.

The hospice team encourages involvement of the patient and family to identify their needs. The  team then works together to design interventions that will fulfill those needs. Hospice staff will support, affirm and empower families as primary caregivers.

Hospice assists the patient and family in achieving a meaningful closure of the relationship and events which have occurred over a lifetime.

Hospice Frequently Asked Questions


What is hospice?

Hospice is a special type of care for people who are facing serious illness and who have a limited life expectancy. SSM Health at Home – Hospice provides a care team consisting of hospice nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, home health aides, volunteers and medical directors. The team works closely with patients and families to identify their goals and priorities, and to develop a plan to achieve those.

How can the hospice team help?
Hospice providers are experts in managing symptoms such as pain, breathing difficulty, and anxiety. They are also skilled in providing emotional and spiritual support to patients and families as death is approaching. Our staff is dedicated to helping individuals facing terminal illness to experience the best quality of life possible.

Who is eligible for hospice?
People are often eligible for hospice when they are facing the end-stage of a chronic illness, their health status is declining, or their disease is progressing and not responding to curative treatments. Hospice serves patients with a variety of diagnoses including heart or lung disease, end stage Alzheimer’s disease, kidney failure, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. Patients of all ages benefit from hospice services.

How are people referred to hospice?
Anyone can refer a patient to hospice services. It may be a family member, physician or clergy member. A call to SSM Health at Home central intake staff can begin the process. Each patient is then provided information regarding hospice services and makes the decision about signing on.

Where can hospice services be provided?
Hospice patients can receive services in the environment they choose. The hospice team will come to their own home, the home of a family member, a nursing home, senior apartments or an assisted living facility.

How are hospice services paid for?
The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers the services hospice provides. In addition, the benefit pays for many types of home medical equipment including hospital beds. Medications related to the terminal illness are generally covered when approved by the hospice team. Many HMOs and private insurance companies also provide coverage for hospice services.

Questions? Please contact Home Health United – Hospice at 877-356-4514.