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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  •  Who Pays For Hospice Care?
    • Medicare
      Hospice care is a covered benefit under Medicare for patients with a prognosis of six months or less. A patient can remain in hospice care beyond six months if a physician re-certifies that the patient is terminally ill.

      Most states and the District of Columbia offer hospice coverage under Medicaid. Your hospice provider will be able to tell you if you live in a state where the hospice Medicaid benefit exists.

      Private Insurance
      Many private health insurance policies and HMO’s offer hospice coverage and benefits.

      Hospice services are covered under Tricare, a military service member and family benefit

  •  When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made and who should make it?
    • At any time during a life-limiting illness, it’s appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s care options, including hospice. By law the decision belongs to the patient. Most hospices accept patients who have a life-expectancy of six months or less and who are referred by their personal physician.

  •  Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice, or should I raise it first?
    • The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other health care professionals, clergy or friends.

  •  Is all hospice care the same?
    • No. Many communities have more than one hospice. Medicare requires certified hospices provide a basic level of care but the quantity and quality of all services can vary significantly from one hospice to another. To find the best hospice for your needs, ask your doctor, healthcare professionals, clergy, social workers or friends who have received care for a family member. You may want to call or meet with the hospices and ask questions about their services.

  •  Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?
    • Certainly. If the patient’s condition improves and the disease seems to be in remission, patients can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy or go on about their daily life. If the discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare and most private insurance will allow additional coverage for this purpose.

  •  What does the hospice admission process involve?
    • One of the first things the hospice program will do is contact the patient’s physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for this patient at this time. (Most hospices have medical staff available to help patients who have no physician.) The patient will be asked to sign consent and insurance forms. These are similar to the forms patients sign when they enter a hospital. The form Medicare patients sign also tells how electing the Medicare hospice benefit affects other Medicare coverage.

  •  Is there any special equipment or changes I have to make in my home before hospice care begins?
    • Your hospice provider will assess your needs, recommend any equipment, and help make arrangements to obtain any necessary equipment. Often the need for equipment is minimal at first and increases as the disease progresses. In general, hospice will assist in any way it can to make home care as convenient, clean and safe as possible.

  •  How many family members or friends does it take to care for a patient at home?
    • There’s no set number. One of the first things a hospice team will do is to prepare an individualized care plan that will, among other things, address the amount of caregiving needed by the patient. Hospice staff visit regularly and are always accessible to answer medical questions.

  •  Must someone be with the patient at all times?
    • In the early weeks of care, it’s usually not necessary for someone to be with the patient all the time. Later, however, since one of the most common fears of patients is the fear of dying alone, hospice generally recommends someone be there continuously. While family and friends do deliver most of the care, hospices may have volunteers to assist with errands and to provide a break and time away for primary caregivers.

  •  What specific assistance does hospice provide home-based patients?
    • Hospice patients are cared for by a team consisting of a physician, a nurse, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and volunteers. Each one provides assistance based on his or her own area of expertise. In addition, hospices provide medications, supplies, equipment, and other services related to the terminal illness.

  •  Is hospice care covered by insurance?
    • Hospice coverage is widely available. It is provided by Medicare nationwide, by Medicaid in 47 states, and by most private insurance providers. To be sure of coverage, families should, of course, check with their employer or health insurance provider.

  •  Does hospice provide any help to the family after the patient dies?
    • Most hospices provide continuing contact and support for caregivers for at least a year following the death of a loved one. Glory Hospice & Palliative Care provide two years of bereavement support for the family.