What hospice is (and is not)
Hospice is medical and supportive care for people facing a terminal illness and their families. Hospice is not about giving up. It’s about focusing on the quality of your life and having the support you need to live your remaining time as fully and comfortably as you can.
Your hospice team brings much of your medical care to you at home—they become the eyes and ears of your physician in your home, with the added benefit of hospice expertise. Your hospice care includes access to experienced nurses available by phone 24 hours/day. Hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance.
Hospice is not 24/7 caregiving for your day-to-day needs, although your team can help you find this kind of help.
The referral process
After you and your physician have discussed hospice and you have agreed to proceed, your physician will refer you to hospice. A hospice nurse will then call you to discuss your physician’s referral, provide additional information about hospice, and answer your questions. The nurse can also arrange for an informational/admission visit at your place of residence.
To prepare for the informational/admission visit, please have handy:
- A list of all medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medications and vitamin and herbal supplements,
- A copy of your POLST and advanced directive, if you have signed one.
The nurse will ask you about your symptoms and review whether you are eligible for hospice. Your nurse is also there to answer any questions you or a family member might have about how the program works and the care you will receive. If the mutual decision is to proceed with hospice services, your nurse will review a few consent forms with you as well as get started with addressing any pressing needs.
Signing onto hospice—your customized care plan
Hospice is here to support you and your family. We want to know what is meaningful to YOU so we can customize a plan of care to best suit your needs and preferences. In the days following your admission visit, a hospice nurse will call you to:
- Get to know you and further assess how we can help, and
- Identify hospice services which best address needs you may have.
Your hospice benefit may provide:
- In-home medical equipment to make your home safer and ease your care
- medications for your comfort
- A hospice aide to assist with personal care
- A social worker to help navigate medical care decisions, financial paperwork associated with hospice care, final arrangements, or counseling needs
- A chaplain for spiritual support
- A volunteer for respite or other needs, such as pet care
- A child bereavement counselor who can provide support to grieving children
Hospice is your choice
You can disenroll from hospice at any time—it’s your choice. Disenrolling from hospice does not make you ineligible to re-enroll at a later date. You do not have to be DNR to enroll in hospice. Please ask your hospice care provider if you have questions about enrolling or disenrolling in Providence Hospice.
If hospice is not for you
If you feel hospice is not for you or your loved one at this time, as part of this “integrated health system,” we can help you connect with other Providence services that may be helpful to you and your family. These may include the following: