Hospice frequently asked questions
NHPCO Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America
When should hospice care be considered for a patient?
After a diagnosis of life-limiting illness, patients and their families should consider all of their choices for care. A patient does not have to be bed-bound or critically ill to be admitted to hospice. A staff member of Community Home Health will be happy to talk with you about our hospice program and the types of services provided.
Hospice becomes appropriate when treatments are no longer effective in curing the disease. Hospice aims to provide relief from physical and emotional pain so that the patient and family can spend the rest of their time in comfort and dignity. Hospice affirms life and assists the patient and family with life closure activities.
How is hospice different from other medical care?
- Comfort versus cure: For most home health care providers, the goal is to get the patient well. In hospice, the staff and family focus on comfort and support, rather than cure.
- Interdisciplinary team approach: In hospice, all members of the care team—the physicians, nurses, social workers, grief support and spiritual care counselors, aides and volunteers—work together to coordinate care, as appropriate.
- Family focus: Hospice care focuses on the entire family. The hospice team teaches the family how to be involved in their loved one's care.
- Grief support: Hospice care does not end when a patient dies. Hospice grief support staff and volunteers maintain contact with the family for at least 13 months after the death of a patient.
Who is eligible for hospice care?
Hospice care is open to all patients with a terminal illness, regardless of condition or age, who are seeking palliative or comfort care. A physician must certify that the person has a terminal illness and an estimated life expectancy of six months or less if the illness runs its expected course, and the person must agree to hospice care.
Doesn’t accepting hospice care mean giving up?
Hospice affirms life. Hospice exists to provide the support and care for persons in the last phases of an incurable disease so that they might live as fully and comfortably as possible. It does not mean giving up hope. The focus of hope shifts toward helping the patient achieve maximum physical comfort and peace of mind.
What if a patient lives alone?
The patient must have a 24-hour caregiver or a plan for a caregiver. A person can live alone as long as he or she is safe. We will work with the patient to develop a plan of care that supports his or her needs so the patient is able to remain home alone. We will also work with the patient to develop a plan for how his or her needs will be met, as additional help is required.
Does a patient ever get too sick to stay at home?
Most symptoms can be managed in the home, but if symptoms can't be managed in the home setting, Community Home Health's hospice program may provide round-the-clock continuous care where the patient lives. We also provide inpatient care in Community Health Network and other area hospitals or in nursing homes throughout Central Indiana.
What if the condition improves?
Occasionally, a patient's condition may stabilize or improve so that there is no longer a six-month or less life expectancy. When this happens, Community Home Health will discharge the patient out of hospice care. Home care services may be provided for those patients who are eligible. When patients become eligible again for hospice, they can re-elect the hospice benefit.
How does hospice manage pain and other symptoms?
Our hospice staff are up-to-date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. Community Home Health believes that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain. Our specially trained staff are available to address these needs as well.
What kinds of emotional and spiritual support does hospice provide?
Community Home Health's hospice program provides spiritual and emotional support through counseling for the family and the patient. Our chaplains provide spiritual support in agreement with the patient’s faith. Social workers help manage stress and anxiety as well as provide emotional support, community resourcing and financial planning assistance. Our volunteers are available to assist the family and caregiver.
Our bereavement program provides 13 months of grief support after the patient's death. This is provided to the patient’s family and loved ones through support groups, newsletters, visits and phone calls.
How much does hospice care cost?
Hospice care can be reimbursed through Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance programs. Medicare will reimburse for 100% of costs associated with hospice care. Community Home Health's hospice program provides care to those who need it, regardless of ability to pay. See the table below for coverage information. Please call us for a pre-hospice care consultation.
||Home Care |
|100% coverage of medication to control pain and symptoms for a life-limiting illness and related to the terminal illness
|100% coverage of medical equipment and supplies with no deductible or copayment for a life-limiting illness and related to the terminal illness
|In-patient respite care
|Continuous hospice care in home during medical crisis
|Trained volunteers for errands, companionship, and support
|Professional management and supervision of care in all settings (including in-patient, nursing home or patient home)
||Yes - Home Only |
Not including inpatient or nursing home
|Ongoing pastoral and spiritual support for patient and family
|In-home counseling for patient and family
|Bereavement support for 13 months for loved ones
|Nurses available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
|Patient must be “homebound” as defined by Medicare
|Patient life expectancy in months versus years
(As conditions change, the patient may elect a different level of care such as home care instead of hospice)
|Hospice medical director provides support as directed by the attending physician