Hospice Care: Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

We know patients and families new to hospice care have many questions. To help you understand hospice care and how it can benefit your loved one and family, the FAQ's below offer answers to common questions we receive about our services.

How do I know if I might benefit from hospice care?

If the burden of receiving treatment outweighs its benefits, your symptoms no longer respond to curative treatments or you have had multiple hospitalizations over the last several months, you might be ready for hospice.

Are there requirements to be eligible for hospice care?

Patients are eligible to receive hospice services when their physician determines that the disease is likely to progress as expected, and that there is a life expectancy of six months or less.

What's the first step to initiate hospice care?

Anyone can request a hospice evaluation or informational visit at no cost. Your physician can make the referral to us or you may contact us directly. We will describe our services over the phone or make a home visit to answer all of your questions. Once you've made a decision, your physician will provide the order to begin hospice care; if needed, we can call your physician to request an order.

Does choosing hospice mean we're giving up?

This is a very common misconception about hospice care. While a cure may not be likely, there is still much to be done. Our team is trained to provide the highest quality of comfort and care, with an emphasis on easing pain and distress. This allows our patient to spend precious time focusing on the things that are most important and meaningful - in many ways it can offer a time of healing.

What will the hospice team do for me and my loved one?

There is a lot we can do to provide comfort and care. We begin by developing a plan on care to meet your individual needs. This includes arranging for medication, equipment, and supplies; improving comfort by managing pain and symptoms that cause distress; addressing any emotional, psychosocial and spiritual needs; teaching the caregivers how to provide care; advocating for our patients and families; and providing bereavement care and counseling.

What if I have questions or concerns after hours or on weekends?

Our nurse is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for phone consultation. In addition, a nurse and social worker or chaplain are available for visits as needed. We are always here for you, just a phone call away.

Can hospice care be stopped for any reason once it has started?

Yes, hospice care can be stopped at any time. If your condition improves and the illness seems to be in remission, or you choose to pursue other medical options, you can be discharged from hospice. If you should need to return to hospice, medicare and most private insurance companies will allow you to return to your previous level of care.

I have heard that hospice stops all medication. Is this true?

No, this is another common misunderstanding. Hospice will always work with you and your physician to discuss the benefits and risks of continuing medications during your care.

Does hospice provide any help after the death of a loved one?

We offer bereavement care and grief support for up to 13 months after the death of a loved one. Our bereavement and grief services include phone calls, mailings, person visits, and support groups.

Will hospice provide all care around the clock?

The hospice team does not provide all care. You will also need a designated primary caregiver outside of the hospice team who can provide day-to-day care. This may be a family member, friend, hired caregiver in the private home setting or staff in a nursing facility. We teach caregivers how to provide care and/or we coordinate care with hired caregivers in the home or nursing home setting.

If you have additional hospice questions, please call us at 636-733-7399 or contact us here.