Q: Who qualifies for hospice services?
A: Anyone with a life-limiting illness (estimated life expectancy of 6 months or less) and is no longer seeking curative treatment qualifies to receive hospice services.
Q: How are the services provided by hospice funded?
A: Hospice services are paid for through the Medicare Hospice Benefit, Medicaid Hospice Benefit and by most private insurance policies. If a person does not have healthcare coverage through Medicare, Medicaid or Private Insurance, our hospice agency can work with you and your family to ensure needed services can be provided.
Q: What expenses are not covered by the Medicare or Medicaid Hospice Benefit?
A: The Medicare and Medicaid Hospice Benefit does not cover the cost of treatments or services that are not related to your terminal illness. Standard Medicare will continue to pay covered costs necessary to treat an unrelated condition. You may continue to see your attending physician for routine visits. Attending physician charges would continue to be paid through Medicare Part B Coverage.
Q: How do I know when it is time to seek hospice care?
A: Anyone living with a life limiting illness should consider hospice care. It is appropriate to discuss all your care options with your physician. Once you have decided to shift your focus from curative care to comfort, hospice may be the best care option for you.
Q: How do I know if hospice care is the right choice for me?
A: If you are still interested in pursuing curative care or aggressive medical treatments/interventions, hospice care is not yet the right choice for you. However, if your focus has shifted and you are now ready to focus on comfort and symptom management, hospice care may be the right choice for your healthcare needs.
Q: Do all hospices provide the same care and services?
A: Hospice providers are specialists who are trained to care for individuals who are living with a terminal illness. Every hospice agency shares the same basic philosophy; however, each agency is unique and may provide different services and treatment modalities. You have the right to select the hospice of your choosing to provide the care you require and deserve. We encourage you to research your options and request informational visits with a representative from each hospice agency you are considering. Doing so will help ensure that you select the provider that will best meet your needs.
Q: Will the hospice team be able to control my symptoms at home or will I need to be admitted to a hospital or inpatient unit?
A: Your hospice team will include healthcare professionals that are specifically trained to manage symptoms related to your illness. Hospice and palliative care physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, volunteers and bereavement counselors will work together to help you identify your treatment goals and needs. Team members are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most symptoms can be controlled in the home setting. The hospice physician is always available to adjust medications and treatment options to ensure your symptoms are optimally managed.
Q: Does hospice provide in-home care givers 24 hours a day?
A: You will receive routine nursing visits to assess, monitor and treat your symptoms. Hospice home care aides will be available to make scheduled visits to assist with grooming and hygiene needs if necessary. These team members will provide you and your caregivers with the education and support necessary to allow your loved ones to meet your care needs. However, hospice does not provide or pay for private caregivers. The hospice social worker is available to provide assistance and guidance if you wish to employ a paid caregiver to assist/supplement your care.
Q: Am I required to have a 24-hour caregiver, or can I live alone and receive hospice care?
A: Our hospice team will provide services whether you live alone or have 24-hour care. However, as part of the admission process, our team will help you plan and prepare for future care. As your illness progresses, your care needs may change. Although you may be able to live independently now, you may require 24-hour care in the future.
Q: What if I change my mind and decide that I would like to seek curative treatment?
A: Receiving hospice care is a choice. If you change your mind or shift your focus back to curative care, you have the right to cancel your hospice services. Simply communicate your desire to seek aggressive/curative care with one of your hospice team members and they can assist you with the discharge process.
Q: Am I giving up hope if I make the decision to utilize my hospice benefit?
A: Death is not the focus of hospice care. Your hospice team will work with you to identify and set care goals that are focused on quality of life. We will work closely with you and your family to ensure that your symptoms are well managed, allowing you to live fully and enjoy the time you have left.
Q: Will hospice use measures to hasten my death?
A: Our goal is to alleviate suffering and to manage symptoms. At no time will our team suggest or use any intervention intended to speed up the dying process. We provide compassionate care and lend the support necessary to keep you as comfortable as possible as your disease process unfolds.
Q: Is the hospice team available to my loved ones once I die?
A: Our hospice team includes a specially trained bereavement counselor who will follow your family and caregivers for a full year following your death. Our bereavement services include personal phone calls, visits, support groups and informational concerning the grief process. If so desired, our bereavement counselor can provide information and referrals to other area resources when needed.