With boomers coming, hospice industry diversifies

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(AP) – As they brace themselves for the aging baby boom generation, hospice providers are working to diversify their services and dispel misconceptions about what they do.

More than 40 percent of all deaths in the United States were under the care of hospice in 2010, and that number is growing. In response, hospice centers are both growing in number and expanding in scope.

Hospice takes many forms but generally involves medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support for patients with terminal illnesses.

Some programs have been branching out into other “pre-hospice” areas for patients who are not terminally ill. Others are spinning off separate programs for patients with specific diagnoses such as heart disease and dementia, bucking the idea the traditional notion that hospice is just for cancer patients.

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