Hospice care is a special kind of service that focuses on the quality of life for the patient and their caregivers and families. Hospice is compassionate care for the people in the last phases of their incurable disease so they may live as comfortably as possible.

Hospice accepts death as the final stage of life. It affirms life but does not hasten or postpone death. Hospice treats the person and symptoms of the disease rather than the disease itself.

Hospice not only focuses on the patient but supports the entire family system.

How Do I Qualify for Hospice?

Patients are eligible for hospice if they meet the following:

  • A prognosis of 6 months or less
  • Wishes to receive palliative care and not CURATIVE care (no more chemotherapy, radiation, or wants to avoid hospitalization or other surgeries)
  • Eligible for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) for Medicare Beneficiaries

When Is It Time for Hospice?

Knowing when to think about hospice is a difficult and challenging time for families and caregivers. In making this decision, consider the following questions:

  • Has your loved one gotten worse in spite of the medical treatments?
  • Has your loved one been to the hospital and/or emergency room more than five (5) times during the year?
  • Has your loved one’s doctor stated that “there is nothing we can do” statement?
  • Has your loved one expressed their desire to stop treatments stating that side effects make them too weak or too sick?

If you answer YES to any of the statements, talk to your doctor about the possibility of hospice. Your doctor must agree that your loved one has a terminal diagnosis with a life expectancy of 6 months or less. Your doctor will need to sign the ORDER stating that your loved one may receive hospice care.

You can also call Caring Joy Providers to ask about hospice care. We can and will talk to your loved one’s doctor if hospice is needed.

How Does Hospice Care Begin?

Typically, hospice care starts as soon as a formal request or “referral” is made by the patient’s doctor. Often, a hospice program representative will make an effort to visit the patient on the day the referral is made, providing the visit meets the needs and schedule of the patient and family/caregiver.

Usually, in urgent situations, service may begin sooner.

How Do I Pay for Hospice?

Medicare, private health insurance, and MediCal cover hospice care for patients who meet eligibility criteria. As with any healthcare program, there may be “co-pays” and deductibles that families pay to receive care.

Can I Be Cared for By Hospice If I Reside in a Nursing Home or Other Type of Long-Term Care Facility?

Hospice services can be provided within a person’s place of residence in a nursing home. This means the patient receives specialized visits from hospice nurses, home health aides, chaplains, social workers, and volunteers, in addition to other care and services provided by the nursing home.

caregiver supporting an elderly woman with crutches