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WIRED: A Father, a Dying Son, and the Quest to Make the Most Profound Videogame Ever

A video game was designed by the father of a young boy dying of cancer -- the father's way of dealing with his son's decline and death.

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Palliative & Hospice Care

When faced with decisions about end-of-life care for yourself or someone you love, knowing your options is an important early step. Palliative and hospice care are specialized care options for persons with life-threatening or terminal illnesses. Understanding the benefits of palliative and hospice care is important for all of us so that we can be prepared to find the care we need for ourselves or our loved ones if needed.

Hospice and palliative care providers take the time to talk with you and help you understand what care options might be available. They make your goals and wishes a priority and make sure you get the care you want and deserve.

What are the differences between Palliative and Hospice Care?


Palliative Care

Hospice Care

Who can receive this care?


Anyone with a serious illness, regardless of life expectancy, can receive palliative care

Someone with an illness with a life expectancy measured in months not years

Can I continue to receive treatments to cure my illness?

You may receive palliative care and curative care at the same time

Treatments and medicines aimed at relieving symptoms are provided by hospice

Does Medicare pay?

Some treatments and medications may be covered

Medicare pays all charges related to hospice

Does Medicaid pay?

Some treatments and medications may be covered

Medicaid pays all charges related to hospice

Does private insurance pay?

Some treatments and medications may be covered, but there generally is not a 'package' benefit for palliative care

Most insurance plans have a hospice benefit

How long can I receive care?

This will depend upon your care needs, and the coverage you have through Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance

As long as you meet the hospice’s criteria of an illness with a life expectancy of months not years

What organization provides these services?


Home Health Agencies

Visiting Nurse Associations

Home Health & Hospice Agencies

Where are services provided?



Assisted living facility

Nursing facility



Usually, wherever the patient resides, in their home, assisted living facility, nursing facility, or hospital.

Vermont Respite House – an in-patient hospice facility

Who provides these services?

It varies. However usually there is a team including doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains, similar to the hospice team.

A team comprised of doctors, hospice nurses, social worker, chaplain, volunteers, home health aides and others.

Can I get help from volunteers?


Volunteers are not offered at present time


Trained hospice volunteers provide support for families and patients as needed

Are medications covered?


Medication coverage varies with insurance policy

Medications related to the terminal diagnosis are covered

Is medical equipment covered?


Coverage varies with insurance policy and medical necessity.

Medical equipment covered related to terminal diagnosis (commode, hospital bed, etc.).

Is emergency care available?

24 hour on-call coverage.  Plan for emergency needs developed with patient and family.

VNA Hospice is available 24 hours/day; 7 days/week.


Is bereavement care provided?


Usually not covered; exceptions made on an individual basis.

Bereavement support for family for up to one year following the death.

In the video below, Angel Means, Director of End-of-Life Care Services for the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties, joins Across the Fence host Judy Simpson to discuss hospice and palliative care in Vermont.


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