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Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions about Hospice services. If you have a question that is not answered here, please feel free to contact us at: (615) 791-8499 or (800) 790-8499.

1. What is Hospice?Hospice is an approach to care designed to provide pain and symptom management for terminally ill individuals and supportive services for their families when the patient has made the decision to no longer seek curative treatment. “Terminally ill” is defined as a limited life expectancy of 6 months or less if the disease runs its normal course.

2. Who makes the decision about entering Hospice and when?
Ultimately the decision belongs to the patient. At any time during a life-limiting illness, it is appropriate to discuss all available medical options, including hospice. Hospice services are most effective when chosen in the early stages of an illness.

3. How are Hospice referrals made?The doctor’s office or hospital discharge planners may contact hospice with a referral. Other health care professionals or family members can also make referrals. When a referral is received, hospice will schedule an appointment to explain the services that can be provided.

4. If the patient lives in a nursing home, assisted living, or independent living facility, can they obtain benefits from Hospice care?
Yes. When a nursing home, assisted living or independent living facility is the place of residence, the patient may choose to have hospice services at that location. The care received from the hospice professionals will be in addition to the care received from the nursing home or assisted living facility.

5. Who will provide the care?Hospice utilizes a team of professionally trained nurses, social workers, hospice aides, spiritual support counselors, volunteers and grief counselors to provide comfort care in the home environment.

6. Are family members involved in Hospice?Hospice views the patient and family as a unit of care. Family members and friends are encouraged to participate in the patient’s care as much as possible.

7. Are medical supplies or specific equipment provided?Yes, the Hospice care team will assess, recommend, and assist in obtaining any needed equipment and/or supplies.

8. Does the patient’s physician work with the Hospice Team?The patient’s physician often makes the referral to hospice and continues to oversee the patient’s plan of care by working in coordination with the hospice team.

9. How does Hospice manage pain?By working with the patient’s physician, the hospice care team is able to help control the patient’s pain by using treatments and medications for pain and symptom relief.

10. If the patient stabilizes, can they return to curative medical treatment?Certainly. If the patient’s condition improves or the disease seems to be in remission, the patient can choose to be discharged from hospice and resume other medical treatment. If symptoms return, the patient may elect to resume hospice care.

11. Can the patient keep their traditional Medicare Health Plan?Yes. Hospice is a separate benefit under Medicare Part A. The hospice Medicare benefit covers most services and costs related to the patient’s terminal illness. The patient will continue to use their traditional Medicare Health Plan to obtain care for any health problems that are not related to their terminal illness.

12. What is respite care?Respite care is part of the Hospice benefit that gives the primary caregiver a rest from the demands of providing daily care. During a period of respite care, the patient will continue to receive care by their hospice team in a Medicare-approved facility such as a nursing home.

13. Does Hospice do anything to make death come sooner?No. Hospice neither hastens death nor postpones it. It allows death to come naturally. Hospice helps patients and their families understand the dying process.

14. Is Hospice care covered by insurance?Medicare nationwide covers hospice services. Most private insurance companies also provide hospice benefits. Hospice will verify insurance benefits when a referral is received.

15. Are Hospice staff available at night, weekends, and holidays for emergencies?Yes. Hospice has a nurse on call at all times.