What is Hospice Care?

Frequently Asked Questions about Hospice

Whether you are planning for the future or coping with serious illness right now, considering the end of life is not easy. We understand you have questions. We are eager to share what we’ve learned with you.

What is hospice?

Hospice is a way to care for people who are terminally ill by focusing on pain relief and symptom management, as well as emotional and spiritual end-of-life issues, instead of trying to cure the disease.

Who Pays For Hospice?

Someone who has a life-limiting illness with a life expectancy of 6 months or less is eligible for the Medicare or Medi-Cal Hospice Benefit, which covers our hospice services. You have paid into Medicare all your life and now you are able to receive some benefits. Hospice is covered under Medicare Part A if you are 65 years or older. If you are under 65 Hospice can also be paid for by private insurance, an HMO, or Medi-Cal, since these also include a hospice benefit. Do not let financial concerns keep you from getting the care that you are entitled to. We are here to help you understand your benefits.

What does it mean when it’s time to call hospice?

Securing a home hospice provider means deciding that the patient and family no longer want to pursue curative care. Generally, a physician determines that a patient’s life expectancy is six months or less, most medical treatments and interventions are no longer effective, will not cure the disease and/or will prolong suffering. The in home hospice provider takes a patient’s care away from disease specialists and surgeons and gives it to an interdisciplinary team trained in comfort care, pain relief, psychological and social support who provide quality of life at the end of life.

What’s the first step to getting started with hospice care?

Anyone can request a hospice evaluation at no cost. Sometimes the physician makes the referral or provides several options and lets the patient/family decide. The physician must certify to the hospice provider that the patient is eligible and has a prognosis of 6 months or less. When a referral is made, the hospice provider makes an appointment (the same day or on a date convenient for the family) to meet with the patient and family. The admissions nurse evaluates the patient, answers the family’s questions and creates a plan of care that reflects the patient/family’s wishes. If the discussion goes well and the family is ready to decide, they sign admissions paperwork and the hospice team begins to visit.

Who is on the hospice team? Who is responsible for care?

Hospice patients receive services from an “interdisciplinary” team, meaning professional members that come from different disciplines or fields. They may include a physician, registered nurse, hospice aide, social worker, chaplain, bereavement services manager, volunteer and other healthcare professionals.
Get to Know Us! Jane Porter RN, Founder and Administrator of Grace and Glory Hospice explaining some of the misconceptions of hospice.