10 Things You Need to Know About Hospice Care with VITAS

Free Download: 10 Facts About Hospice

Hospice care is a simple concept that can be difficult to understand. Whether you’re a patient, family member or clinician who treats patients with terminal illnesses, having correct information about hospice services can help you make the best decisions about whether hospice care is appropriate.

These are some of the most important facts you should know about hospice care:

  1. Hospice is for people with advanced illnesses. Hospice is comfort care for patients with serious illness, no matter their age, culture, beliefs, or cause of illness.
  2. Hospice can happen anywhere. Hospice is a service that comes to the patient. Patients at home feel better, surrounded by the faces and things they know and love.
  3. Hospice is a choice. Patients can leave, or “revoke their hospice status,” at any time for any reason. Patients can also come back to hospice at any time, as long as they meet hospice eligibility guidelines.
  4. Patients can keep taking some medicines while on hospice. Hospice patients get medicines that bring comfort and improve quality of life.
  5. Hospice gives medicines as needed to help with symptoms. Hospice doctors try to give just enough medicine to manage symptoms and ease pain.
  6. Family or friends provide care with support from the hospice team. Family or friends are the primary caregivers, supported and trained by an expert team that makes regular, scheduled visits. For patients who live in assisted living communities and nursing homes, the hospice team works together with the facility staff.
  7. There is no limit to the time a patient can be on hospice. Hospice is for patients who have 6 months or less to live according to a doctor, and it can be extended when needed. In surveys, family members often say “we wish we had known about hospice sooner.”
  8. Hospice provides home medical equipment and supplies related to the cause of the illness. This includes shower chairs, oxygen tanks, hospital beds, toileting supplies, and more.
  9. Hospice supports the family. After a patient passes, hospice addresses emotional and spiritual pain suffered by loved ones for more than a year.
  10. Most hospice patients do not have any out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare Part A covers up to 100% of the cost of hospice care related to a hospice-eligible patient’s illness with no deductible or copayment. Private or employer-provided health coverage can vary. Check with your insurance provider for details about hospice eligibility, coverage, and out-of-pocket expenses. Medicaid provides hospice coverage, but it varies by state.

Call VITAS to learn more about hospice and palliative care options.