How do we get hospice care started?

Getting hospice care is quick and convenient.  Fill out their referral form or call and ask to schedule a confidential, no-obligation, private medical assessment in your home or wherever your loved one is.  Anyone can ask for a hospice assessment. You can call for yourself or a loved one. Your doctor can refer your loved one to hospice or, if your loved one is in the hospital, the hospital social worker or discharge planner can refer your loved one to hospice. 


A hospice nurse comes to wherever your loved one is, including a hospital or nursing home, and asks you questions about your loved one’s health.  After the assessment meeting – which takes about an hour – our hospice intake team speaks further with your doctor and reviews all the information with our hospice medical director. Once your doctor and the hospice medical director both certify that your loved one is eligible for hospice care, you sign consent papers and your loved one is then officially a hospice patient. 


The next step is getting the equipment your loved one needs (such as a bed or oxygen) delivered to you. Then an admissions nurse visits you, reviews all medications with the doctor and orders them for delivery to you.  From this point on, hospice re-orders the medications every time and has them delivered to you on schedule. Your hospice nurse also fills the pill box each time it needs to be done. 



You’re not in this alone.

Does each hospice provide the same care?

Most hospices are Medicare-certified and must follow Medicare rules and regulations. The core services that hospice must provide directly on a routine basis (`required by the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) include:


  • Physician services


  • Nursing services (routinely available and/or on call on a 24-hour basis, 7 days a week) provided by or under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) functioning within a plan of care developed by the hospice in consultation with the patient’s attending physician, if the patient has one


  • Medical social services by a qualified social worker under the direction of a physician 


  • Counseling (including but not limited to, bereavement, dietary, and spiritual counseling) Bereavement services are available to the family and other individuals identified in the bereavement plan of care up to one year following the death of the patient. 


What if my loved one starts hospice care and then changes her/his mind?


Your loved one can discontinue hospice care at any time by telling your hospice nurse or calling directly to stop hospice service. They will give you a statement to complete to revoke your loved one’s hospice enrollment and then we’ll come and collect the medical equipment that was delivered to you. If your loved one’s situation changes, they can re-elect hospice care at any time that they meet eligibility requirements. 


Your loved one can also change from one hospice to another by confirming first that your loved one will be admitted to another hospice and then informing the hospice contact, who will then make the transfer arrangements. 


Studies show that women and men who choose hospice care can live an average of 30 days longer than those who don’t.  If your loved one’s condition improves with hospice care and s/he no longer needs or wants hospice services, they can be discharged from hospice care.  They can return to hospice care at any time they’re eligible for services again.  



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