1. What is hospice?
Hospice is a program of care that provides physical, emotional, and spiritual support to the terminally ill and support for the patient’s family.
2. Where can hospice be provided?
Hospice can be provided in the patient’s or other’s home, a nursing home, an assisted-care facility, or a hospice inpatient facility.
3. Who is eligible for hospice?
Individuals are eligible for hospice who:
- have a life-limiting condition with a prognosis of six months or less
- have the support of their physician
- desire palliative (comfort care) instead of treatment for their illness
4. What services does hospice provide?
Hospice provides the following services:
- nursing visits for pain and symptom control
- nurse aide assistance for personal care
- medical social services for support and counseling for the patient, family and caregivers
- dietary consultations
- physical, occupational, and speech therapies for energy conservation and symptom management
- spiritual support and counseling
- volunteer visits for respite for caregivers
- bereavement support for family members after the patient’s death
5. Can a patient continue to see his or her own doctor?
Yes, the patient’s own doctor remains a part of the hospice team as long as the patient wishes. Hospice staff functions as the “eyes and ears” of the patient’s physician and regularly consult with the physician to obtain new orders for treatment and/or medications.
6. Is hospice covered by insurance?
Hospice is covered by Medicare (Part A), by Medicaid, and by most private health insurance policies. To verify coverage, check with your employer or insurance provider. Mt. Evans also provides hospice on a sliding scale for patients without insurance.
7. What does the admission process involve?
In order for a patient to be admitted to our hospice program the patient’s physician must provide an order to our admissions desk for hospice services. A hospice nurse will then call and arrange a visit to discuss the details of the program and have consent forms signed. The patient and family with the nurse will determine frequency of visits and what other staff will be involved.
8. What are the advantages of hospice?
- Hospice allows terminally ill patients and their families to remain together in the comfort of their home.
- Hospice relies on the combined knowledge and skills of a team of professionals, including physicians, nurses, certified nurse aides, social workers, chaplains, dietitians, and volunteers.
- Hospice treats the person, not the disease; includes the family in the care plan; and emphasizes the quality of life, not its duration.
- Hospice is a cost-effective alternative to the high costs associated with hospitals and traditional institutional care.
- Under Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurances, hospice will cover the expenses of medications, medical equipment, and supplies.
9. Does choosing hospice mean that the patient is “giving up?”
Hospice focuses on enhancing the quality of life in its final stages. It seeks neither to shorten nor prolong life. A patient can choose to discontinue hospice at any time and return to aggressive treatment for the disease. The choice is always the patient’s. A physician’s referral to hospice usually indicates that no other curative measures are appropriate.