Frequently Asked Questions in Hospice Care
Learn the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in hospice care. If your question isn't answered below please reach out and we will answer any questions you may have.
Is hospice a place?
Does hospice mean that the patient will die soon?
Receiving hospice care does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent. The earlier an individual receives hospice care, the more opportunity there is to stabilize a patient’s medical condition and address other needs.
Is hospice only for certain patients?
Hospice care is provided to any individual with a prognosis of six months or less, no matter the illness.
Can patients only receive hospice care for a limited time?
Care will be provided for the family and patient as long as the patient continues to meet the criteria necessary. Patients may come on and off hospice care as needed.
Does Hospice provide 24 hour care?
The hospice team (which includes nurses, social workers, home health aides, volunteers, chaplains, and bereavement counselors) visits patients intermittently, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for support and care. Some hospices are able to provide “continuous care”, but hospices must have a program in place for this to happen and hospice patients must meet certain criteria. Grace hospice is proud to offer continuous care.
Is Hospice Care just for the patient?
Hospice focuses on comfort, dignity, and emotional support not just for the patient but for family and friends too.
Must a patient have Medicare to afford hospice services?
Although insurance coverage for hospice is available through Medicare, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations include hospice care as a benefit. In addition, through community contributions, memorial donations, and foundation gifts, many hospices are able to provide patients who lack sufficient payment with free services. Other programs charge patients in accordance with their ability to pay. Grace Hospice believes that everyone has a right to hospice care regardless of their ability to pay.
Does the physician decide whether a patient should receive hospice care and which agency they should use?
The role of the physician is to recommend care, whether hospice or traditional curative care. It is the patient’s right (or in some cases the right of the person who holds power of attorney) to determine when hospice is appropriate and which program suits his or her needs. Before entering a hospice, however, a physician must certify that a patient has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and has a life expectancy of six months or less. Grace Hospice puts patient and family choice first and foremost.
Does a patient have to be bedridden to be eligible for hospice care?
Hospice care is appropriate at the time of the terminal prognosis, regardless of the patient’s physical condition. Many of the patients served through hospice continue to lead productive and rewarding lives.
Is it true that patients are no longer eligible to recieve hospice care after six months?
According to the Medicare hospice program, services may be provided to terminally ill Medicare beneficiaries with a life expectancy of six months or less. However, if the patient lives beyond the initial six months, he or she can continue receiving hospice care as long as a physician recertifies that the patient is terminally ill. Medicare, private and commercial insurance programs, and HMOs will continue to cover hospice services as long as the patient meets hospice criteria.
Once a patient elects hospice, he or she no longer can receive care from the primary care physician?
Hospice reinforces the patient-primary care physician relationship by advocating either office or home visits, according to the physician preference. Grace Hospice works closely with the primary care physician and considers the continuation of the patient-physician relationship to be of the highest priority.
Once a patient elects hospice care, can he or she return to curative medical care treatment?
Patients always have the right to reinstate traditional care at any time, for any reason. If a patient’s condition improves or the disease goes into remission, he or she can be discharged from a hospice and return to aggressive, curative measures, if so desired.
Are all hospice programs the same?
All licensed hospice programs must provide certain services, but the range of support services and programs may vary. Like other medical care providers, quality can differ. Grace Hospice has been providing excellent care since 1999 and our team strives to provide you the best care possible.
More helpful answers about Hospice
We understand that the hospice journey can be overwhelming and confusing at times. Check out the pages below for more information.
What is Hospice?
Choosing a Hospice Care Provider
Discussing Hospice Care for the first time
Discussing hospice care at the earliest possible time benefits both the patient and family. Starting with education about the disease process and the availability of visits around the clock, the average hospice patient and their family have an increased quality of life the moment hospice care begins.