Determining the appropriate hospice care for you or a loved one is an overwhelming task to take on during an already difficult time. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about hospice care:
Hospice, or end-of-life care, emphasizes pain management and symptom control rather than curative treatment. It affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death. It provides personalized services and a caring community so that patients and families can attain the necessary preparation for a death that is satisfactory to them. At the center of hospice is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.
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Hospice care is appropriate if your doctor and the hospice medical director certify that you have a life-limiting illness, and if the disease runs its normal course, death may be expected in six months or less. At times, a disease does not run its normal course and patients may be on hospice services for periods longer than six months.
Hospice care provides comfort and support for patients with all types of illnesses including cancer, heart, lung, vascular, kidney and neuromuscular diseases, all types of dementia, and AIDS.
If you feel that you or a loved one may benefit from hospice care, we are only a phone call away. A member of our experienced staff can work with you and your physician to determine if hospice care is right for you.
If you prefer to be contacted via e-mail, please Contact Us and we will promptly reply to your request.
The hospice team usually consists of the person receiving care, the patient’s family and loved ones, the patient’s personal physician, our medical director, nurses, home health aides, social workers, counselors and spiritual caregivers, trained volunteers, and other professionals such as speech, physical, and occupational therapists, as needed.
You do, in consultation with your physician. According to Medicare, “a patient is free to choose any qualified agency offering him/her services.”
Before you speak with our hospice administrator, compile a short list of hospice needs for you or your loved one. We will take as much time as needed to cover topics such as:
Every person receiving hospice care has access to a registered nurse, social worker, home health aide, bereavement counselor, spiritual counselor, and hospice volunteer. Visits are based on the patient's and family's needs as described in your personalized care plan and may change or evolve over time. The frequency of volunteers and spiritual care is often by request.
Hospice care is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We have nurses on call and respond within minutes, if necessary.
Hospice volunteers provide essential support to patients and their loved ones including running errands, preparing meals, assistance with home activities, emotional and spiritual support and companionship as each family deals with grief and bereavement. They have all been screened and trained to assure that each person is right for this type of volunteer work.
Hospice services can be provided to a person who has a terminal life-illness wherever he or she resides. This means that a person who lives in a nursing facility, home, or assisted living facility can receive visits from hospice nurses, home health aides, and volunteers who provide practical services as well as spiritual and bereavement support.
No. The “Homebound” requirement is only for Medicare home health services (see Home Medical Care FAQ). We encourage you to live your life to the fullest. Patients are able to continue attending church, visiting family, and even traveling out of town.
Yes. There are strict state and federal licensure requirements that must be met by hospice programs in order for them to provide hospice care. Hospices undergo inspection and surveys to be sure that they meet regulatory standards. They must meet these standards in order to maintain their license to operate and the certification that permits Medicare reimbursement.
Hospice is designed to provide intermittent visits by the hospice team members unless the patient has significant symptoms that need constant monitoring.
Hospice is paid for through the Medicare Hospice Benefit and most private insurers. Medicaid benefits vary by state and private insurances offer a wide variety of coverage. Our expert financial staff can help you understand your coverage provisions and will contact Medicaid or your insurance company to determine your specific benefits.
For more details see the Hospice Payment Options FAQ.
Yes! Sometimes a person’s health improves or their illness goes into remission. If that happens, your doctor may feel that you no longer need hospice care. Also, you always have the right to stop getting hospice care, for any reason. If you stop your hospice care, you will receive the type of Medicare coverage that you had before electing hospice. If you are eligible, you can go back to hospice care at any time.
100% Coverage if These Four Requirements Are Met:
IMPORTANT: Medicare will still pay for covered benefits for any health problems that are not related to the patient’s terminal illness.
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