Isn't hospice only for those who are bedridden and very ill?
Many hospice patients are able to enjoy life much as they did before their diagnosis. Often, patients and families delay accessing hospice assistance until they are too exhausted and overwhelmed to enjoy the remaining year of life. Individuals who call Sacred Heart Hospice earlier are able to benefit from the support hospice can provide: supportive counseling, assistance with saying good-byes, and getting personal affairs in order while preventing unnecessary hospitalizations.
When is hospice appropriate?
Hospice care becomes an appropriate method of care when a patient has reached the last phase of a life-limiting illness or condition. The subject of hospice care can be addressed at any time as the physician and patient discuss treatment options.
When a patient chooses hospice, the decision is made to give up curative measures in favor of comfort care that focuses on pain management and symptom control, as well as emotional and psychosocial support for both patient and family.
Can I discontinue hospice care whenever I choose?
Yes. Sacred Heart Hospice patients may withdraw from hospice at any time.
If I do not feel ready for hospice services at this time, can I accept them later?
Yes. If you are not eligible at this time or do not feel hospice is right for you yet, we will work with you to begin services when you decide the time is right.
Where do I go to get hospice care?
Sacred Heart Hospice provides the majority of its care in a patient’s home, with family and friends acting as caregivers. If the patient no longer lives at home, we can provide care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or other types of assisted living facilities. Arrangements will be made if a patient requires in-patient care in order to address severe symptoms or to provide respite for a caregiver. There is no charge to the Medicare patient for in-patient care.
Is it true that hospice is where you go when there is "nothing else to be done"?
Hospice is the "something else" that can be done for the patient and family when the illness or condition becomes life-limiting. It is a concept based on comfort-oriented care. Referral to hospice is a movement into another mode of care, which is more appropriate.
Can I keep my own doctor?
Yes. If that is your desire, your doctor will continue as your primary physician and will approve your admission to hospice care, and will continue to deliver services to you and can make changes in your plan-of-care. The hospice team members will work closely with your doctor in administering and providing your care.
However, you and your doctor may also elect to have our Medical Director assume primary responsibility for your hospice care, since Hospice Medical Directors have extensive experience and expertise in the full spectrum of hospice and palliative care. Sacred Heart Hospice services function as an extension of, not in place of, your primary physician. Even if our Medical Director has primary responsibility for your care, your physician will always be given updates on your status and the status of your care. Your physician also will continue to provide non-hospice related services to you.
Our Medical Director is also available to help patients who do not have a primary physician.
Who pays for hospice services?
Hospice care coverage is widely available. Sacred Heart Hospice is a state licensed and Medicare/Medicaid provider. For those eligible for Medicare Part A benefits, all hospice care costs are covered. Many private insurance carriers pay 80% to 100% of hospice charges up to a pre-determined limit. To be sure of private insurance coverage, families should, of course, check with their employer or health insurance provider. In some cases, the patient may elect to pay for services directly. Sacred Heart Hospice will never deny hospice services based on patients' ability to pay.
If the patient is eligible for medicare, will there be any additional expenses to be paid? Medicare/Medicaid covers all services and supplies related to the terminal illness or condition for the hospice patient. Sacred Heart Hospice NEVER asks for any payment of any kind from its Medicare/Medicaid patients.
Do I lose any medicare benefits because I am on hospice care?
If you are using your Medicare Hospice Benefit, it is important to understand that the hospice agency only uses that portion of your Medicare Part A benefit (hospitalization) related to the medical diagnosis or condition that qualified you to receive hospice care. The remaining portion of your Medicare Part A benefit and all of your Part B benefit (physician visits) continue to be available for your use. You will still be able to consult with your physician on any issues relative to your medical care that does not involve the diagnosis or condition that made you eligible to receive hospice care or assisted living. Your physician also will be able to continue billing Medicare/Medicaid for services he/she provides.
What if I do not have Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance or enough personal income to pay for services?
Sacred Heart Hospice does not discriminate on any patient’s ability to pay.
When does hospice care stop?
Hospice care is provided as long as the patient continues to meet the Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance enrollment criteria and desires to have hospice care.
A Medicare certified hospice agency cannot terminate a patient’s Medicare Hospice Benefit unless one of the following conditions (listed in the Medicare Conditions of Participation) occurs. These conditions are the ONLY conditions that can terminate Medicare funded hospice care:
- The patient moves out of the hospice agency’s service area or decides to transfer to another hospice
- The patient makes the decision to resume curative treatment. In this case, the patient may revoke hospice care and the patient immediately resumes his/her regular Medicare coverage. The patient may, at any time, return to hospice care by re-enrolling with a hospice provider
- The patient is no longer eligible for hospice care, as determined by the patient’s primary physician and our Medical Director
- The patient’s (or other persons in the patient’s home) behavior is disruptive, abusive or uncooperative to the extent that delivery of care to the patient or the ability of the hospice to operate effectively is seriously impaired.
Can a patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?
Certainly. The patient always has this option. If improvement in the condition occurs and the disease seems to be in remission, the patient can be discharged voluntarily from hospice and return to aggressive therapy or go on about his or her daily life. If a discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare/Medicaid and most private insurance companies will allow the patient’s remaining benefit to be used.
Is there any special equipment or changes I have to make In my home before hospice care begins?
Sacred Heart Hospice will assess your needs, recommend any necessary equipment and help make arrangements to obtain it. Required medical equipment is included at no charge as part of our service to you.