What is Hospice

Hospice is a specialized, compassionate approach to caring for those with serious illness who may have weeks or months, rather than years, to live. The focus is on caring for the whole person, with expert pain and symptom management and emotional and spiritual support, to improve quality of life. When your illness is progressing despite aggressive treatments, and you and your family want to focus on comfort and quality of life, rather than curing your disease, and it may be time to talk about hospice.

Care is provided in your home, wherever you call home, by a dedicated and specially trained interdisciplinary team of professionals, who work closely with your physicians.

Hospice is 100% covered by Medicare for all eligible patients and is covered by most Medicaid and commercial insurance plans. Anyone can refer a patient to hospice, and the evaluation is free.

Eligibility Guidelines

Studies have shown those who choose hospice care
actually can live longer and better lives.

Levels of Hospice Care

Hospice offers four levels of care customized to meet the individial needs of the patient including physical, psychological and emotional needs. The four levels of care are listed below:

Routine Care

is provided in the comfort of your home, wherever you call home. This is the most common level of hospice care.

Inpatient Care

is provided when pain and symptoms become difficult to manage at home. Once symptoms are under control, the patient can return home.

Crisis Care

provides intensive care in the home setting for brief periods, when a patient requires skilled nursing care to manage difficult pain and symptoms.

Respite Care

provides temporary, short-term care for patients to relieve their family member who is the primary caregiver.

When to Consider Hospice Care

Hospice is a special way of caring for people with terminal illness. Knowing when to schedule a hospice evaluation can be difficult. Some signs that may indicate potential eligibility for hospice care are:

  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Excessive sleeping throughout the day
  • Multiple hospital visits/stays in the past six months
  • Excessive swelling of the legs and ankles, even when feet are propped up
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness during activities of daily living
  • Frequent changes in medications
  • Pain that is poorly controlled

  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Not “bouncing back” after an illness
  • Not responding to current treatments or therapy
  • Difficulty breathing, even at rest or with increased oxygen levels
  • Confusion
  • Wounds that aren’t healing
  • Loss of speech
  • Infections