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Hospice Care

When medical care cannot offer a cure, hospice provides care, comfort and support for persons with life-limiting conditions as well as their families. The hospice team works to make the person comfortable and relieve their symptoms and pain for the entire length of their illness.

What specific services are provided as part of hospice?

The hospice team will provide the following services to individuals in the home, wherever they consider home to be:

  • Manage pain and other symptoms
  • Offer support with the emotional and spiritual aspects of dying
  • Provide medications, medical supplies and equipment
  • Teach family members skills to help them provide care
  • Deliver special services like speech and physical therapy if needed
  • Make short-term inpatient care available when pain or other symptoms become too difficult to manage at home
  • Provide support and counseling to family members and loved ones

Essential to hospice care is the view that dying is a natural part of the life course and that every individual has the right to live fully without pain and with dignity until a natural death takes place.

Hospice services are available in every region in Vermont through local Visiting Nurse Associations and Home Health and Hospice Agencies. Hospice care is available for children as well as adults. Individuals can be referred to hospice when the goal of treatment shifts from cure to comfort and their prognosis is approximately six or fewer months.


  • Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process
  • Neither hastens nor postpones death
  • Helps individuals clarify their priorities and establish their own goals of care
  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Integrates the medical, psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
  • Offers a support system to help patients live as fully as possible until death
  • Provides a support system to help each family cope, both during the period of illness and the time of grief that follows
  • Care may be provided at home, in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, or at the Vermont Respite House, Vermont's only Medicare certified inpatient hospice care residence.
  • Is reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid and most 3rd party private insurances.

Who can receive hospice?

To receive hospice, physicians must be willing to state that death can be expected within 6 months if the disease follows its normal course. This does not mean that care will only be provided for 6 months; hospice can be provided as long as the person’s physician and hospice team certifies that their condition remains life limiting.

Learn what it means to be a VNA Hospice Nurse

In the video below, Mary Loney, RN, talks about her work at the VNA and what hospice nursing means to her.

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