Can a Girlfriend Arrange Hospice Care at Home?

Author: Tiffany Stockton

Reviewed by: Catherine Braxton

Yes, a girlfriend can arrange hospice care at home for her partner if she has the legal authority to make health care decisions on their behalf. If her partner cannot make decisions, she must have designation as a health care proxy or power of attorney for health care. With these legal responsibilities, she can coordinate with health care providers and hospice agencies to ensure her partner receives the appropriate end-of-life care in the comfort of their own home.

Understanding Hospice Care

Hospice care serves as a specialized form of health care that provides comfort for individuals with life-limiting illnesses. It enhances the quality of life for patients and their families by managing symptoms, addressing emotional and spiritual needs and creating a peaceful end-of-life experience. Primary caregivers can also take a break by letting others offer respite care. In-home hospice care allows patients to remain in a familiar and comfortable environment while receiving compassionate and holistic support from a team of health care professionals. This includes nurses, physicians, social workers, chaplains and volunteers.

The Role of a Health Care Proxy

A health care proxy has the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of another person if they cannot do so themselves. This designation occurs through a legal document called a health care proxy or medical power of attorney. The proxy ensures the patient’s wishes regarding medical treatment and end-of-life care get carried out by health care providers and anyone assisting the patient in any way.

Arranging Hospice Care at Home

The process to arrange hospice care at home involves contacting a hospice agency and providing payment, then coordinating with health care providers to communicate the patient’s preferences. The girlfriend, acting as the health care proxy, works closely with hospice staff to assess the patient’s needs and develop a personalized care plan. This plan may include pain management, symptom control, emotional support and assistance with activities of daily living.

The girlfriend should communicate openly with her partner, family members and health care providers throughout the process to include everyone involved in making decisions. By working collaboratively with the hospice team and other stakeholders, she helps create a supportive and dignified end-of-life experience for her partner at home.