Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is hospice?
A: Hospice care services are provided by a team of health care professionals who maximize comfort for a terminally ill person by reducing pain and addressing physical, psychological, social and spirtual needs. Unlike other medical care, however, the focus of hospice care isn’t to cure or treat the underlying disease. The goal of hospice is to provide the highest quality of life possible for whatever time remains.

Q: Who is eligible to receive hospice care?
A: Hospice care is for a terminally ill person who’s expected to have six months or less to live. Many people who receive hospice care have end-stage diseases such as cancer, heart disease, dementia, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Enrolling in hospice care early may help you or your loved one develop a strong relationship with the hospice staff, who can help with preparation for end-of-life needs.

Q: Who pays for hospice care?
A: Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organzations pay for hospice care. The hospice benefit covers services of hospice staff, medications, supplies and equipment related to the hospice diagnosis. If the insurance company does not cover the services needed, or the patients are uninsured, they may still obtain hospice care through private pay or alternative funding sources.

Q: Where is hospice care provided?
A: Most hospice care is provided at home with a family member typically serving as the primary caregiver. Premier Hospice also cares for people who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. If medically necessary, we also provide services to hospitalized individuals.

Q: When should the conversation about hospice begin?
A: Hospice care is a very difficult subject to talk about when someone you love is terminally ill. As hard as it is to initiate, this is a really important conversation to have with your loved one earlier rather than later. At Premier Hospice we not only provide essential services to patients and their families, but by commencing hospice care in a timely manner, it increases the chances that your loved one will be able to remain where they are; whether it’s at home, in a silled nursing home, or an assisted-living facility. Even if just some basic information is needed, call us to send out one of our specialists to discuss if hospice care is the best option for you or your loved one.

Q: Does accepting hospice care mean medical treatment ceases?
A: Although aggressive curative treatment is discontinued, comprehensive pain management and other palliative care is provided. The goal of pain and symptom control is to help the patients be comfortable while allowing them to stay in control of and enjoy their life.

Q: What are some signs that a person may be ready for hospice?
A: The following may be signs that an individual could be ready for hospice care:

  • Treatment for a cure is no longer being tolerated or recommended
  • Repeated hospitalizations or trips to the ER
  • An increase in pain, nausea, breathing distress or other symptoms
  • Increasing assistance needed for walking, eating, bathing, dressing and/or going to the toilet
  • Decreasing alertness – patient is emotionally withdrawn, sleeping more or having increase difficulty with comprehension

Q: Can a patient stop having hospice care?
A: Yes. Patients always have the right to choose what type of care they receive. If they and their physicians decided to try another approach, we will assist them in making that transition.