All the different branches of health care can get confusing. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about our services. And by all means, give us a call at 800.338.4043. We are happy to answer your questions!
• Is hospice only for people who are dying?
Hospice is for patients whose condition is such that a doctor would not be surprised if the patient died within the next six months. This doesn’t mean the patient is going to die in the next six months. It simply means that he or she has a condition that makes dying a realistic possibility.
• Isn’t using hospice the same as “giving up”?
Not at all! Even if a cure is not likely, that does not mean there is nothing left to do.
Without the pain and distress of their condition—or curative treatments—hospice patients get to spend their last months focusing on the things that are the most meaningful to them. Patients and families find this is a very sweet and tender time. They are able to enjoy each other and build wonderful memories together.
Adding life to days
As one man put it, “I’d rather spend my time with my children and grandchildren than waste my limited time and energy driving to the treatment center and recovering beside the toilet bowl.”
Far from giving up, hospice helps patients achieve internal goals and helps families heal as they travel on this last leg of their journey together.
• When is the best time to start hospice?
Sooner is better than later
Most patients and families who receive hospice care say they wish they had known about it earlier. They needed the help much sooner than they received it.
A longer, better life
Research has shown that hospice can increase both the quality of life and how long a patient lives. Families who receive hospice for only a few days to a week have a harder time adjusting after their loved one dies. Families whose relative receives hospice care for weeks and months before passing on have a much easier transition.
Support is available for six months
Hospice support is available for up to six months. Longer if you need it. Experts agree that at least two to three months of care is optimal. It is better to ask sooner rather than later. Time is too precious to be without this important source of strength and comfort.
• Should we wait for the doctor to suggest hospice?
You can. But oddly enough, doctors often wait for families to bring it up! This is one reason people often receive hospice care so late in the process.
Ask the doctor
If you think your loved one might benefit, ask the doctor if hospice might be something to consider now or in the near future.
“Would you be surprised…?”
A good question to ask the doctor is if he or she would be surprised if your family member were to pass away in the next six to twelve months. If the answer is “No, I would not be surprised,” then it’s probably a good time to begin a hospice discussion.
• Who pays for hospice?
100% covered by Medicare/Medicaid
If the person you care for has Medicare or Medicaid and meets hospice eligibility requirements, then the government will pay 100%. This means there are no copays, no deductibles.
Medical supplies and prescriptions
Not only are the services of the hospice staff entirely covered, but medical supplies and prescriptions relating to pain and comfort management are also covered under the Medicare benefit.
Individuals who do not have Medicare coverage but have coverage from private insurance should talk with their insurance company. Find out whether there are eligibility criteria and how much is required in terms of a deductible and copayments. If you aren’t sure, call our office at 800.338.4043. We can help you find this information.
No insurance? No problem
For those with no insurance coverage whatsoever, generous donations from local businesses, patients, and families enable us to offer hospice care regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.