Doctor assisting a patient in hospice


Hospice is not a place, but rather a special type of care that can be provided in a variety of locations, frequently right in the home. Hospice is designed to offer comfort and care, helping relieve issues that occur in the final phases of an end stage disease process. Hospice care is designed for people whose illnesses no longer respond to curative treatment but focuses on treating symptoms while increasing quality of life. Hospice care includes not only support for the patient, but also the family and loved ones. Northwestern Medicine Home Health & Hospice provides a caring hospice team that works with you to develop a care plan that fits your family’s needs, with goals to:

  • Improve quality of life
  • Relieve pain, control symptoms and offer comfort and dignity
  • Provide physical, emotional, social and spiritual support

Northwestern Medicine Home Health & Hospice strives to make your family’s time in hospice as meaningful as possible for everyone.

Levels of hospice care

Northwestern Medicine hospice care provides needs-based care in a variety of locations and may involve different levels of caregiving. In many cases, you can stay together in the comfort of your home. Hospice care may be provided in a hospice facility, hospital or nursing home, as appropriate. The Medicare Hospice levels of care include:

  • Routine care: Routine level of care is the most common level of hospice care. With this level of care, the hospice team visits you in your home. The Northwestern Medicine interdisciplinary hospice team includes skilled nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health aides, and volunteers. The team provides supportive visits to patient intermittently for assessment, medication management, personal care, emotional support and education.
  • General Inpatient care: Inpatient level of care is provided for pain control or other acute symptom management that cannot feasibly be provided in any other setting. General inpatient care begins when other efforts to manage symptoms have been ineffective.
  • Inpatient Respite care: This care provides you with a break from your caregiving role. Your loved one may temporarily stay in the hospital or another medical facility with 24-hour care so that you can rest and recharge.
  • Continuous care: Care may begin only during periods of crisis to manage your loved one’s acute symptoms, requiring ongoing nursing care to help stabilize the symptoms in the home. Similar to inpatient care, this level of care is offered at home or place of residence.

At each level, Northwestern Medicine hospice care ensures comfort and dignity, while offering options and support.

Meet your hospice care team

The Northwestern Medicine hospice care team draws talents from a range of medical and professional areas, to offer a complete circle of care to meet your family’s needs. Your care team includes:

  • Medical director of hospice
  • Hospice nurses are educators and advocates who strive to provide comfort and grace throughout the final days
  • Hospice chaplains help your loved one and family focus on healing and forgiveness, and find a sense of meaning
  • Hospice social workers offer emotional support, care planning, problem solving, access to resources and assistance with financial issues
  • Hospice volunteers are carefully selected and trained to provide compassionate assistance, support and friendship

Hospice therapy services

Striving to make every minute meaningful, Northwestern Medicine Home Health & Hospice offers a range of hospice therapy services, including:

  • Peaceful Moments Bath: A soothing spa bath experience, provided by Northwestern Medicine Home Health & Hospice certified nursing assistants, is both calming and comforting.
  • Aromatherapy: Essential oils can have profound physiological, psychological and spiritual effects. The Northwestern Medicine hospice care team uses these oils during routine visits to help enhance the healing experience.
  • Paws with a Purpose: This program brings the healing power of animals directly to you with certified therapy dogs.
  • Music therapy: This therapy includes the compassionate and structured use of music to soothe and heal the body and soul.

Cancer care

Northwestern Medicine hospice care staff are trained to meet the unique needs of seriously ill cancer patients. If someone you love is at the end-stage of cancer and no longer receiving treatment, the compassionate skilled Northwestern Medicine Home Health & Hospice team can provide the care needed to control pain symptoms and make the final days as comfortable and meaningful as possible. Many times, your loved one can remain at home surrounded by family in a soothing, familiar environment.

Dementia care

Northwestern Medicine hospice care is staffed with skilled nurses and other caregivers who are trained in caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. If someone you love is in the advanced stages of a memory loss disease, the Northwestern Medicine hospice care can help control symptoms, manage pain and nurture remaining abilities to bring the greatest meaning and dignity to the final days of life.

Cardiac care

If someone you love has heart disease and medical treatments are no longer an option, hospice care can help bring quality of life to the end of life. Northwestern Medicine Home Health & Hospice offers a skilled team of healthcare providers, specially trained in controlling pain and offering comfort and dignity to cardiac patients and families.

Bereavement services

Losing a loved one is a painful and difficult passage in life. As experienced providers of end-of-life care, the staff and volunteers at Northwestern Medicine Home Health & Hospice recognize that grief is a powerful force—one that can leave you feeling alone, uncertain and frightened.

If you have experienced a loss, Northwestern Medicine Home Health & Hospice bereavement counselors can help you understand what you are feeling in a supportive environment that encourages sharing and communication. You learn about the symptoms and cycles of the grieving process, and by understanding your pain, come to terms with your loss so you can move forward with life. For more information on Bereavement services, contact 630.665.7000.

Refer your patients for home care and hospice services

If your patients are recovering from surgery or illness, or nearing end of life, you know that advanced, compassionate home care and hospice services can speed recovery and enhance quality of life. Northwestern Medicine Home Health & Hospice skilled nurses and other staff members provide a range of services—from skilled nursing and therapy to heart, wound and joint replacement care.

Learn more about physician referral, including quality of care, scope of services and the referral process.

Related Resources



  • DuPage County Senior Services*: DuPage County supports a variety of services to help seniors remain active, healthy and independent.
  •*: If you are helping care for someone you love, find information, support and advice to help make the caregiving process better for everyone.
  • Home Health Care Agencies*: Read more about things to consider when selecting a home health provider.
  • Illinois Department of Aging*: Learn more about state programs and policies to protect older adults.
  • Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission*: Access the Illinois short form power of attorney for health care form.
  • LSVT Global*: Learn more about these innovative therapies for Parkinson’s disease.
  • Mental Health America*: Losing a loved one is one of life’s most stressful events. Learn more about coping with this loss.
  • National Healthcare Decisions Day*: Learn more about an advance directive and how it can ensure your healthcare wishes are met if you are unable to speak for yourself.
  • WebMD*: Discover insights and advice for caregivers.
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