Frequently Asked Questions
We know this is a very difficult topic. We have provided some frequently asked questions below for guidance but please contact us for further assistance. We have also provided a comparison page for home health and hospice here.
Who can receive hospice?
Care is for anyone who has a life expectancy of six months or less based on a physician’s best judgment. This includes, but is not limited to, Alzheimer’s, heart and liver diseases, cancer, COPD, ALS, Parkinson’s and other conditions related to end-of-life.
Who decides if I go on hospice services?
You do. The decision is made together with you, your physician and your loved ones. Once you begin hospice, you can make the decision to stop care at any time if you change your mind or decide to seek treatments to cure a life-limiting illness.
If I start hospice will I still be able to make decisions about my care?
Yes, you and your family are in charge of your care.
What does the hospice 6-month requirement mean?
Some people misinterpret their doctors' suggestion to consider hospice thinking that it means death is very near.
That's not always the case. At times, people don't begin hospice care soon enough to take full advantage of the benefit and support.
People enrolled in Medicare can receive hospice care if their healthcare provider thinks they have less than 6 months to live should the disease take its usual progression. Often, it is difficult for physicians to predict how long an older, sick person will live. In some cases health can decline more slowly than anticipated by the best healthcare professionals.
It is important to talk to your doctor if you think a hospice program might be helpful. If he or she agrees, but thinks it is too soon for Medicare to cover the services, then you can investigate how to pay for the services that are needed. Contact us and we will discuss how Choice can help.
What happens if someone under hospice care lives longer than 6 months?
If the doctor continues to certify that that person is still close to dying, Medicare can continue to pay for hospice services. It is also possible to leave hospice care for a while and then later return if the healthcare provider still believes that the patient has less than 6 months to live.
How does hospice care improve quality of life for me and my family?
Choice Hospice providers come to you, providing what you need to be comfortable. This allows you to focus on valuable time with your loved ones.
Hospice care may also improve quality of life by:
• Reducing the time spent in the clinic and the emergency room
• Eliminating the wait for a return call from your doctor’s office
• Decreasing your out-of-pocket medical expenses
• Having a Hospice nurse available any time day or night
Who provides hospice care?
Hospice care is provided by doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health aides, bereavement counselors and volunteers. This group is referred to as an interdisciplinary team, which is headed by a medical director.
Who pays for hospice?
Hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid and most private insurance companies. Hospice is a financial relief to many because services related to the life-limiting illness, such as medication, equipment and supplies, are covered by hospice benefits–with few or no out-of-pocket expenses.
How can I go about starting hospice care?
You may ask your physician to submit a referral, or you may contact us. After your physician refers you to hospice care, you and your family will meet with an admissions nurse to determine your needs and arrange for an individualized care plan.