Frequently Asked Questions

Is Hospice Only for Patients when Nothing More can be Done by a Doctor?

No. Hospice is care designed for patients with life-limiting illnesses. Hospice is not where you go to die; hospice professionals are trained to assist patients in living their lives fully, completely, and without pain.

Are Only Patients in the Final Stages of Death Eligible for Hospice?

No. Hospice patients and families receive care for an unlimited amount of time, depending upon the course of the illness. There is no fixed time limit on the amount of time a patient may continue to receive hospice services.

Quality Care at the end of Life is Really Expensive, isn’t It?

Medicare beneficiaries pay little or nothing for hospice. For those ineligible for Medicare, most insurance plans, HMO’s, and managed care plans cover hospice care.

Do I Have to Leave my Home if I Choose Hospice Care?

No. Hospice care is provided wherever the patient may be: in their own home or a family member’s home, a nursing home, or an assisted-living facility. Hospice is also provided in in-patient units, VA Hospitals, and some correctional facilities.

Does Selecting Hospice Care Mean my Family can’t Care for Me?

Absolutely not. Family members are encouraged, supported, and trained by hospice professionals to care for their loved ones. Hospice staff is on call to the patient and their families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help family and friends care for their loved ones.

Isn’t Hospice Only for Cancer or Aids Patients?

No. 50% of hospice patients are diagnosed with conditions other than cancer or AIDS.

Who is Eligible for Hospice Care?

Hospice care is for anyone facing a life-limiting illness, regardless of age.

What if There is no Hospice in my Area?

Less than one percent of Medicare beneficiaries live in an area where hospice is not available. Please contact us to see about acquiring hospice services if you are uncertain.

How Many Levels of Care Does Hospice Provide?

Hospice provides care on four levels.

  • Routine Home Care – care provided in the patient’s home.
  • General Inpatient Care – care provided in an in-patient setting such as a hospital for symptom management.
  • Continuous Care – care provided continuously for at least an 8 hour period of time in a private home for symptom management.
  • Respite Care – private home care patients can receive 5 days of respite care every 30 days in a facility to allow their caregivers rest periods. This is paid for by the hospice.

Can Hospice Help Save Money?

Yes. According to a study conducted by Duke University, published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, hospice services save money for Medicare and bring quality care to patients and families.

How can Hospice Help my Loved Ones After I’m Gone?

Hospice provides grief/bereavement support for 13 months following the passing of a hospice patient. This support is offered by means of bereavement luncheons in which hospice provides and coordinates lunch for a group of various bereavement families to help facilitate the grief process through communication with others who have lost a loved one. Bereavement support also includes phone calls, mailed-literature, and face-to-face household visits.

Do I Have to Sign a DNR to Qualify for Hospice Care?

No. Having a DNR is not a requirement to receive hospice care. The goal of hospice is patient comfort with the patient directing care.

The Last Thing I Want to do is Become a Burden to my Family and Friends. I’m Also Concerned About Pain, and Above All, Want to Maintain a Level of Control. How can Hospice Help?

Hospice addresses the whole range of physical and psychological needs of the patient and family in an interdisciplinary way, which is one of the reasons hospice is so special.

My Child has a Terminal Illness. Are They Eligible for Hospice Care?

Yes. Children who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness are eligible for both curative care and hospice care at the same time under the state Medicaid benefit.

Does Hospice Provide Bereavement Support?

Yes. Bereavement support is available to members of the community who have suffered a loss and need support, even if their loved one was not on hospice services. In fact, while most adults believe it would take a year or more to adjust to the death of a loved one, only 10% of adults participate in a bereavement program or grief counseling. Hospice is available for these important services.

Do I Have to be Homebound to Qualify for Hospice Care?

No. Hospice care is appropriate at the time of terminal prognosis, regardless of the patient’s physical condition. Many patients served through hospice continue to lead productive and rewarding lives.

Does it Mean I Have Given up if I Enter Hospice Care?

Absolutely not. Hospice care is the model of high-quality, compassionate care that helps patients and families live as fully as possible. While the focus is on care, not curing, hospice is in no way a form of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.

Is Hospice Care Time-limited to the Prognosis?

No. The Medicare Hospice Benefit requires that a terminally-ill patient have a prognosis of six months or less. There is not a six-month limit to hospice care services. In fact, a patient in the final stage of life may receive hospice care for as long as necessary when a physician certifies that he or she continues to meet the eligibility requirements.