Frequently Asked Questions

Does Hospice mean death is imminent?

Hospice care is meant for when a physician has determined an individual has a prognosis of six months or less. The time to start thinking about hospice is before you think you need it. We’re happy to meet with you and your family – as well as to include your primary care physician – to discuss what care we can provide when the time comes. 

I thought Hospice was a place?

Once a decision to seek hospice care is made, we work with you and your family to help you stay at home – in your house, assisted living or skilled nursing facility – wherever you call home.

Do I have to stop seeing my doctor if I’m on hospice care?

You can continue to see your physicians. Testing and lab work will not be covered by hospice. The hospice team can become the eyes and ears for the physician when it becomes taxing to get to appointments. The community physician remains involved in the plan of care and signs hospice orders.

Do I need to wait for my doctor to suggest hospice?

Anyone may call at any time to learn about Hospice’s services at no obligation. A physician’s order is ultimately required for admission to the hospice program. It is better to learn about options before a crisis occurs.

Will I be on morphine immediately?

Morphine is the best medicine to resolve pain and respiratory distress. Not all patients have pain or respiratory distress, therefore would not need morphine. Some patients may never have the need to take morphine during their hospice care.

Can I change my mind once I’ve started hospice care?

If the patient/family decide to pursue treatment or decide they no longer want hospice, they may sign a Revocation and traditional Medicare benefits will resume. Some patients improve with hospice and are discharged if they no longer meet criteria.

Is hospice care 24/7?

The family/caregiver is responsible for providing care or making arrangements for care. Hospice teaches the caregiver how to care for their loved one.

Can I still go to the hospital?

There are some indications for a return to the hospital. The hospice team would need to be involved in the plan and provide approval.

Is Hospice only for cancer patients?

Hospice care is not limited to cancer patients, but also meant for those living with cardiac or lung diseases, dementia or other chronic issues.

Hospice physician services, nursing, home health aides, social workers, spiritual counseling, therapies such as pet and art therapy, and dietary counseling; medications for comfort and symptom management; durable medical equipment and medical supplies; short term inpatient care for pain or symptom crisis management; short term inpatient respite for up to 5 days to provide temporary relief for a caregiver.

Who is eligible for Hospice under the Hospice Medicare Benefit?

Those with any diagnoses, including cancer, cardiac, pulmonary, dementia, renal or liver conditions, those with Active Medicare Part A, those for whom a physician or nurse practitioner and Hospice Medical Director certifies a 6-month prognosis or less, patients who elect comfort care instead of curative care are all eligible. Patients must have a 24-hour responsible person to provide care or arrange for care when necessary.

How long can a patient receive hospice care?

Hospice care is given in benefit periods. It begins with two 90-day benefit periods followed by an unlimited number of 60-day benefit periods. At the start of each period, the Hospice Medical Director will recertify the patient as long as criteria continues to support the terminal condition. Hospice services do not stop after six months – they will continue as long as the patient is recertified. Patients have the right to discontinue hospice services at any time.

Any other questions?