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    Determining the appropriate hospice care for you or a loved one is an overwhelming task to take on during an already difficult time. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about hospice care:


    What is hospice?

    Hospice, or end-of-life care, emphasizes pain management and symptom control rather than curative treatment. It affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death. It provides personalized services and a caring community so that patients and families can attain the necessary preparation for a death that is satisfactory to them. At the center of hospice is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.

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    Who can receive hospice care?

    Hospice care is appropriate if your doctor and the hospice medical director certify that you have a life-limiting illness, and if the disease runs its normal course, death may be expected in six months or less. At times, a disease does not run its normal course and patients may be on hospice services for periods longer than six months. Hospice care provides comfort and support for patients with all types of illnesses including cancer, heart, lung, vascular, kidney and neuromuscular diseases, all types of dementia, and AIDS. If you feel that you or a loved one may benefit from hospice care, we are only a phone call away. A member of our experienced staff can work with you and your physician to determine if hospice care is right for you. If you prefer to be contacted via e-mail, please Contact Us and we will promptly reply to your request.

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    Who is involved in the hospice process?

    The hospice team usually consists of the person receiving care, the patient’s family and loved ones, the patient’s personal physician, our medical director, nurses, certified nursing assistants, social workers, counselors and spiritual caregivers, trained volunteers, and other professionals such as speech, physical, and occupational therapists, as needed.

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    Who chooses my provider (hospice agency)?

    You do, in consultation with your physician. According to Medicare, “a patient is free to choose any qualified agency offering him/her services.”

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    What do I ask when I speak to your admission coordinator?

    Before you speak with our admission coordinator, compile a short list of hospice needs for you or your loved one. We will take as much time as needed to cover topics such as:

    • The specific services we offer
    • How often a nurse or other hospice staff will visit
    • Our accreditation status
    • The quality standards our hospice meets
    • How caregivers are trained

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    Do you provide us with our own hospice team and how often will they visit?

    Every person receiving hospice care has access to a registered nurse, social worker, home health aide, bereavement counselor, spiritual counselor, and hospice volunteer. Visits are based on the patient's and family's needs as described in your personalized care plan and may change or evolve over time.

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    Is hospice available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

    Hospice care is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We have nurses on-call and respond within minutes, if necessary. We also have support services on call as well such as social workers and chaplains.

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    Why are hospice volunteers needed and what do they do?

    Hospice volunteers provide essential support to patients and their loved ones including running errands, preparing meals, assistance with home activities, emotional and spiritual support and companionship as each family deals with grief and bereavement. They have all been screened and trained to assure that each person is right for this type of volunteer work.

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    Can I be cared for by hospice if I reside in a nursing facility?

    Yes. Hospice services can be provided to a person who has a terminal life-illness wherever he or she resides.

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    Does a hospice patient need to be "homebound?"

    No. The “Homebound” requirement is only for Medicare home care services (see Home Medical Care FAQ). We encourage you to live your life to the fullest. Patients are able to continue attending church, visiting family, and even traveling out of town.

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    Do state and federal reviewers inspect and evaluate hospices?

    Yes. There are strict state and federal licensure requirements that must be met by hospice programs in order for them to provide hospice care. Hospices undergo inspection and surveys to be sure that they meet regulatory standards. They must meet these standards in order to maintain their license to operate and the certification that permits Medicare reimbursement.

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    Does a hospice staff member need to be with a patient at all times?

    Hospice is designed to provide intermittent visits by the hospice team members unless the patient has significant symptoms that need constant monitoring.

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    How is hospice paid for?

    Hospice is paid for through the Medicare Hospice Benefit and most private insurers. Medicaid benefits vary by state and private insurances offer a wide variety of coverage. Our expert financial staff can help you understand your coverage provisions and will contact Medicaid or your insurance company to determine your specific benefits.

    For more details see the Hospice Payment Options FAQ

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    Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?

    Yes! Sometimes a person’s health improves or their illness goes into remission. If that happens, your doctor may feel that you no longer need hospice care. Also, you always have the right to stop getting hospice care, for any reason. If you stop your hospice care, you will receive the type of Medicare coverage that you had before electing hospice. If you are eligible, you can go back to hospice care at any time.

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    Medicare and Hospice

    100% Coverage if These Four Requirements Are Met:

    • The patient is eligible for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
    • The patient’s doctor and a hospice medical director certify that the patient is terminally ill and has 6 months or less to live if the illness runs its normal course
    • The patient signs a statement choosing hospice care instead of other Medicare-covered benefits to treat the terminal illness
    • The patient receives care from a Medicare-approved hospice program

    Services Hospice Provides Under the Hospice Medicare Benefit:

    • Doctor services
    • Nursing care
    • Medical equipment
    • Medical supplies
    • Social worker services
    • Spiritual care
    • Dietary counseling
    • Volunteers
    • Grief counseling for patient and family
    • Medications for symptom control or pain relief
    • Medical supplies and equipment related to the terminal diagnosis
    • Hospice aide and homemaker services
    • Physical and occupational therapy, as appropriate for the plan of care
    • Music, pet, and/or massage therapy as appropriate for the plan of care. Call to see if available in your area
    • Speech-language pathology services, as appropriate for the plan of care
    • Short-term inpatient and respite care
    • Any other Medicare-covered services needed to manage pain and other symptoms, as recommended by the hospice team

    IMPORTANT: Medicare will still pay for covered benefits for any health problems that are not related to the patient’s terminal illness.

    Services Medicare Does Not Cover While Under Hospice Care:

    • Treatment intended to cure the terminal illness
    • Prescription drugs to cure the illness rather than for symptom control or pain relief
    • Room and board.  However, room and board is covered for Respite and General Inpatient (GIP) level of care 
    • Care in an emergency room, inpatient facility care, or ambulance transportation, unless it’s either arranged by the hospice medical team or is unrelated to the terminal illness

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    Patient’s Rights:

    • To choose any Medicare-certified agency
    • To be told when Medicare will not cover a service (verbally and in writing)
    • To receive services the doctor ordered
    • To be involved in planning care
    • Can choose to transfer to another hospice provider if unhappy with current agency

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We accept patients for care regardless of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, being a qualified disabled veteran, being a qualified disabled veteran of the Vietnam era,
or any other category protected by law, or decisions regarding advance directives.