Frequently Asked Qeustions

Hospice is a philosophy of care, not a place. Hospice provides medical, emotional and spiritual care focused on comfort and quality of life.  Hospice care is provided wherever a patient calls home. It is specialized care for people whose doctors believe they are likely to have six months or less to live.

People nearing the end of life often have many changes happening in a short period of time. There may be changes in medications, sleep habits, fatigue, diet, and family roles, to name just a few. It is the job of AlēvCare Hospice to address each of these changes as they occur, to make the quality of life the best it can be.

Hospice is a benefit covered under Medicare, Medicaid and most Private Insurance. Hospice pays for medications, medical equipment and supplies that are related to the life-threatening disease.

No. The gift of hospice redefines hope and helps patients and their families focus on improving the patient’s quality of life, allowing them to make the most of the time they have.

Most physicians have had little hospice training and are uncomfortable talking about death.  Anyone can make the first call to hospice, including a patient, family or friend.  It is important for you to take control of your healthcare decisions and to seek options when the time is right for you and your loved ones.

Hospice care is not limited to people with cancer. In fact, most people on hospice do not have cancer.  Hospice is designed to enhance the quality of life for those with Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Cardiovascular Disease, COPD, HIV/AIDS, Neurological Diseases (Stroke, Parkinson’s, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.), Renal Disease, Liver Disease and many other life-limiting diseases.

Hospice nurses and other team members provide care during their visits, and they will teach you what you need to know to provide care at home.

Hospice care is provided by an Interdisciplinary Team. Each patient has a Registered Nurse Case Manager. You can decide if you would also like a Hospice Aide to provide personal care, a Chaplain/Spiritual Care Counselor to talk to, a Social Worker to assist with arranging practical matters, or a Volunteer to keep the patient company.

Yes. Your primary care doctor remains your doctor under hospice care. Your doctor gives us direction about your care.

Hospice does not usually provide shift care or 24-hour care. Team members make visits, but a nurse is available by telephone 24-hours a day and can come at any time if a visit is necessary.

No. Hospice will pay for your medications that are related to the terminal diagnosis. If there are medications that hospice does not cover, you can continue to get them and take them as you always have.

Hospice usually treats pain aggressively. We know that pain interferes with eating, sleeping, visiting and general quality of life. Uncontrolled pain can also shorten life. The patient and family are always in control of their care and can decide how they want to treat pain.

Not usually. Some diseases cause the patient to be less alert. If pain is severe, pain medicine may make a patient sleepier than usual for two or three days, then they will be as alert as the disease lets them be.

Hospice does not provide treatments designed to shorten or lengthen life. Hospice strives to improve the quality of life. Research shows that with the extra care from hospice, people who go on hospice usually live longer than those who do not.

If you feel you can’t care for the patient at home, the Hospice Social Worker can help you find a skilled nursing facility or residential care facility.

Yes. You can always go to the hospital. We ask that you call hospice first. We may be able to manage your crisis at home. If not, they can arrange transportation to the hospital. There are times that the hospice may ask the patient to go to the hospital for a short stay if there is a problem that can be managed better there.

Nursing homes are experts in long-term care. Hospice nurses are experts in symptom management and end-of-life care. Hospice nurses are best equipped to deal quickly with urgent problems that arise. Other benefits of hospice include more frequent personal care, volunteer visitors, paid medications and supplies and bereavement follow-up for family members.

You can let your doctor know that you would like hospice care when it becomes appropriate. You are entitled to six months of care, but some doctors hesitate to talk about hospice for fear you will think they are “giving up.” Hospice is not giving up. Just like you, we hope you do well. Hospice is a way to be sure of the best care, no matter how things turn out.

No. It is the patient’s, or their designated decision maker’s right to determine when hospice care is right for them and which agency they would like to use.  Others may recommend agencies for you to consider, but it is up to you to make the final decision.

No. Hospice care is only related to health insurance. Because of the special nature of hospice care, we do make Chaplains/Spiritual Care Counselors available to patients and families. They can also help to link you to someone in your own faith community.

You do. Your doctor authorizes care, but you decide if you want this care or not. Some families call hospice and have us call the doctor to ask for authorization. AlēvCare will send someone, free of charge, to make an information visit if you need this.

You and your doctor are always in control of your care. Hospice will make suggestions about your care, but you will always be in control.

Hospice must periodically recertify that the patient has a prognosis of six months or less. If at each of these dates it appears that the patient has six months or less to live, then the patient can stay on hospice. If the course of the disease is slow, some people may receive hospice care longer than six months.

Yes. You can choose to stop hospice services at any time for any reason.  You can change your mind and resume aggressive treatment.  If you wish to return to hospice care later, you can do so as long as you meet the medical hospice admission requirement of a diagnosis of six months or less to live.

Sometimes with the extra care from hospice a patient’s health improves. They may start eating more and be more active. If they improve to the point that it appears they will live more than six months, we must discontinue hospice care. The patient can return to hospice in the future when needed.

A large part of hospice care is bereavement support for families and friends. AlēvCare Hospice continues to provide bereavement support to the caregiver for thirteen months.