Hospice FAQs

What Is Hospice?

A special kind of care that helps people live with dignity, comfort and peace at the end-of-life.

What Does Hospice Do?

  • Provides compassionate care for people with a terminal illness until death occurs
  • Focuses on relieving symptoms and increasing comfort of the person who is dying
  • Assists family and loved ones as well as the patient
  • Assures that wishes for end-of-life care are honored

What Makes Hospice Unique?

  • Its focus on preventing, treating or eliminating discomfort and pain
  • A team of professionals trained in end-of-life care
  • Supporting physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs of all those caring for loved ones at end-of-life

What Should I Know About Hospice?

  • Hospice is NOT a place
  • Hospice is wherever you are
  • Hospice care is provided in private homes, nursing homes, hospitals, comfort care homes and many other places people call “home”

Who Is On The Hospice Team?

  • Physician
  • Registered Nurse
  • Home Health Aide
  • Social Worker
  • Chaplain
  • Grief and Bereavement Counselor
  • Volunteers

Who Is Eligible For Hospice Care?

Hospice serves patients – and their families – in their last months of life. Patients who have less than six months to live as determined by their physician and a hospice medical director.

Who Pays For Hospice?

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Most private insurance companies
  • If you or your loved one does not have insurance, some hospices can provide care at little or no cost

What Does Hospice Cover?

  • Doctor visits/services
  • Nursing care
  • Medical equipment, supplies and drugs for symptom control and pain relief
  • Home health aide assistance
  • Social work services
  • Volunteer support
  • Grief and bereavement support to help you and your family
  • Physical, speech, and/or occupational therapy, if appropriate
  • Short-term care for symptom management in the hospital or inpatient hospice unit

How Is Hospice Care Initiated?

  • You or a loved one can call a hospice care program or agency that offers this type of care to learn more about starting the process
  • Your physician calls a hospice care program or agency that offers this type of care and makes a referral for service
  • Your physician signs a certificate of terminal illness
  • A hospice nurse or social worker meets with you and/or your family members and explains the benefits of hospice
  • You or your medical care representative or proxy signs the Benefit Election Form and service begins

Does Hospice Do Anything To Make Death Come Sooner?

  • Hospice neither hastens nor postpones dying
  • Some patients live longer with hospice care than they would if they continued aggressive treatment that was not working
  • The Hospice Care team provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the last phase of life

Where Can I Receive Hospice Care?

  • At home
  • In a nursing home
  • In a hospital
  • In a special hospice unit or center
  • Comfort care homes

What Is Palliative Care?

  • A medical specialty focused on relief of pain and other debilitating symptoms of serious illnesses
  • Is not dependent on a prognosis
  • Can be delivered at the same time as the treatment meant to cure you