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The history of Hospice

The term “Hospice” comes from the same root word as “hospitality” and can be traced back to early Western Civilization when it was used to describe a place of shelter and rest for weary or sick travelers on long journeys. The term was first applied to specialized care for dying patients in 1967, at St. Christopher’s Hospice in a residential suburb of London. Today, the term "Hospice" refers to a steadily growing concept of humane and compassionate care which is implemented in a variety of settings including: in a patients’ homes, hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities or free-standing inpatient hospice facilities.

The philosophy of Nathan Adelson Hospice is to provide support and care in the last phase of incurable disease so that people may live as fully and as comfortably as possible. Hospice care seeks to enable patients to carry on an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms so that their last days may be spent with dignity and quality at home or in a home-like setting.

Nathan Adelson Hospice offers palliative, or comfort, rather than curative treatment. Under the direction of a Physician, hospice uses sophisticated methods of pain and symptom control.

Nathan Adelson Hospice emphasizes quality, rather than length of life. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death: it affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. The hospice movement stresses human values that go beyond the physical needs of the patient.

Nathan Adelson Hospice considers the entire family, not just the patient, to be the unit of care. Patients and their families are included in the decision-making process, and bereavement counseling is provided after the death of their loved ones.

Why does NAH focus its care on the whole family?

The physical, emotional and spiritual complications of terminal illness affect everyone who is part of the patient’s life.  Our goal is to look at the patient and family together and to reduce the pain and worry for all.

Given the choice, most of us would prefer to be at home when we’re sick. This is no different with a terminal illness. However, many families fear the responsibilities of home care.  Hospice lessens the practical burdens on the entire family through a coordinated system of physical, emotional and spiritual care.

Who will care for our family at home?

You will be given a specific team made up of nurses, certified nursing assistants,  social workers, chaplains, and trained volunteers. This team, known as the Inter-Disciplinary Group, meets weekly and works together under the supervision of your physician to design and implement a specific plan for your family’s special needs - an uncommon approach. Hospice care is provided by the IDG which includes at least the following members as described below.

As needed, they will come to you.

Each patient and family is assigned a Nurse/Case Manager who will coordinate the delivery of care. They will be there as often as necessary as an extension of your physician, to monitor and manage pain and symptoms. They will also educate the family on what to expect and how to help.

Certified Nursing Aide
A Certified Nursing Aide may make regular visits to assist patients with activities of daily living such as bathing, shaving, shampooing, and the changing of patients' bed linens if needed.

Medical Social Worker
A Medical Social Worker can serve as liaison to other community resources that may be helpful to patients and families -- with specific help on family relationships, the stress of the illness, financial or legal issues and more. 

Pastoral Care Worker/Chaplain
A Pastoral Care Worker/Chaplain is available for those who request spiritual assistance and support. Can be provided either directly by a staff Hospice Chaplain or by coordinating with other community clergy.

Specially Trained Volunteer
Specially Trained Volunteers are available as a companion, someone to talk with, someone to listen and a friend to lean on.

How will Hospice work with my doctor?

The Nathan Adelson Hospice team works under the guidance of your physician. He or she sees and approves all plans of care, is invited to team conferences, and continues to provide primary medical services. Our staff hospice physician is available to your doctor for consultation.

What if the patient can't be cared for at home?

Sometimes a patient needs the intensive care that can only be provided at one of the Nathan Adelson Hospice inpatient facilities. Patients are able to stay at the facility for short periods of time when symptoms or pain can't be managed at home, on direct transfers from acute care hospitals or to give the family a brief respite from home care responsibilities.

The inpatient hospice staff has developed expertise in pain and symptom management and continues to deliver the coordinated care, outstanding services and the compassionate support that the patients receive in their homes.

Even with the extensive medical and nursing care being given at the Nathan Adelson Hospice inpatient facility, it doesn't look like a hospital or operate like one. The facilities have a home-like décor, living rooms and parlors, comfortable furnishings and private patios. There are no visiting hour restrictions. Patients and families can also spend time in the tranquil outdoor courtyard.

How are hospice care services paid for?

Medicare patients are fully covered for all Nathan Adelson Hospice services related to their terminal illness and have no out of pocket expenses. Private insurance and HMO plans will often cover hospice services through a specific hospice benefit or through hospital, home health or private duty benefits. Families are responsible for any remaining balance unpaid by insurers.

It has been proven that hospice care is substantially less expensive than the typical cycle of hospitalization and home health agency care. A Nathan Adelson Hospice Admissions Coordinator will help you determine your eligibility for Medicare or insurance benefits and if necessary assist in finding resources for your family.

We serve all who need us. We can help families that live in our community without resources. This commitment is made possible by the generous and compassionate support of individuals and corporations who make donations to the Nathan Adelson Hospice Foundation.

What insurances does Nathan Adelson Hospice accept?

Aetna PPO and HMO


Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

Anthem Community Care

Beechstreet PPO Network



Cigna PPO and HMO

Culinary Health Plan

Federal Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Great West

Health Smart

Healthscope Benefits

Health Plan of Nevada - Medicaid

Humana PPO and HMO

Humana Gold

JAS / Retail Clerks


MGM Resorts (UMR)

Multi-Plan Network

Nevada Check Up

Nevada Medicaid

Nevada Preferred (NPP)

Prominence Health Plan

Senior Dimensions

Sierra Health and Life

Sierra Health-Care Options

Silver Summit Health Plan

Smart Choice

Teachers Health Trust



United Health Care

Veterans Administration (VA)

Workers Compensation

If your plan does not appear on this list, a Nathan Adelson Hospice Billing Specialist will verify your benefits with your specific insurance company.


When is the right time to seek hospice care?

At any time during a life-limiting illness, it is appropriate to discuss all of a patient's options, including hospice. The sooner the Nathan Adelson Hospice team can begin to help the patient and family, the more effective the services will be in improving the quality of life and reducing the physical, emotional and financial burdens.

Family members often state, “I wish I had signed my loved one on to Nathan Adelson Hospice care sooner.”

The Nathan Adelson Hospice Admissions Coordinators are available 7 days a week, including evenings to consult with the attending physician as well as the patient and family.

Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?

Certainly. If the patient's condition improves and the disease seems to be in remission, patients can be discharged from Hospice and return to aggressive therapy.

If a discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare and most private payers will allow additional coverage for this purpose.

Does NAH provide any help to the family after the patient dies?

We provide continuing contact and support for family and friends for a minimum of 13 months following the death of a loved one. We offer a variety of bereavement groups and support for anyone in the community who has experienced a death of a family member or friend. Intensive grief workshops for adults and children, a children's grief camp and referrals to licensed therapists are also available.