Frequently Asked Questions About Hospice

When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made? 

At any time during a life-limiting illness, it’s appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s care options, including hospice. The earlier the decision for hospice care is made, the better it is for the patient and the easier it is for the family. 

Who should make a decision about entering a hospice program? 

By law this decision belongs to the patient.

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. 

What does the hospice admission process involve? 

It’s very simple: All you need is a physician’s signature and your loved one can be admitted the same day. The patient will be asked to sign consent and appropriate admission paperwork. 

How much will hospice care cost? 

Hospice coverage is widely available. It is provided by Medicare nationwide, by Medicaid in 39 states, and by most private insurance providers. To be sure of coverage, families should, of course, check with their employer or health insurance provider.  Medicare covers all services and supplies for the hospice patient related to terminal illness. You should find out about any copayment when selecting a hospice. Hospice of Orleans currently does not require a copayment. 

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 with 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 do you provide for a dying loved one who remains at home? 

Hospice patients are cared for by a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, hospice certified nursing assistants, clergy, therapists, and volunteers. Each provides assistance based on his or her own area of expertise. In addition, hospice provides medications, supplies, equipment, and hospital services related to the terminal illness and additional helpers in the home, if and when needed.

Is caring for the patient at home the only place hospice care can be delivered? 

No. Hospice of Orleans provides care to patients wherever they are, whether that is a private home, nursing home, assisted living or hospital inpatient setting.

Does hospice do anything to make death come sooner? 

No. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones dying. Hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process.

What is hospice’s success rate in pain management? 

Very high. Using various combinations of medications, counseling and therapies, most patients can attain a level of comfort that is acceptable to them.

Does hospice provide any help to the family after the patient dies? 

Yes. Hospice provides continuing contact and support for caregivers for at least a year following the death of a loved one. Hospice of Orleans also sponsors bereavement groups and support for anyone in the community who has experienced a death of a family member, a friend or similar loss.

Is hospice affiliated with any religious organization? 

No. However, Hospice of Orleans does offer non-denominational spiritual support.