Hospice Care Frequently Asked Questions
Meaningful comfort care begins with clear conversations about your needs and values. Our hospice FAQ enables you and your family to make well-informed decisions about care.
Who is eligible for hospice care?
Hospice is available for patients with a life expectancy of six months or less, as determined by your doctor and a hospice medical director. For more information, ask your doctor, visit our hospice eligibility criteria page or contact a Compassus location near you.
Who Provides Hospice Care?
Hospice care is provided by doctors, nurses (RNs), social workers, chaplains, licensed aides, bereavement counselors and volunteers. This group is referred to as an interdisciplinary team, which is headed by a medical director.
Is hospice covered by Medicare or Insurance?
Hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, VA Benefits, Medicaid and many private insurance plans. Hospice is a financial relief to many because services related to the life-limiting illness, such as medications, home medical equipment and supplies, are covered by hospice benefits–with few or no out-of-pocket expenses.
Who decides whether I go on hospice service?
You do. The decision is made together with you, your physician and your loved ones. Once you begin hospice, you can make the decision to stop care at any time if you change your mind or decide to seek treatments to cure a life-limiting illness.
What services does hospice provide?
Hospice services are personalized for the needs of patients and families. Medicare rules require all approved hospice providers to offer a common minimum set of services.
What if I change my mind and decide to seek curative treatment?
It is your decision to receive hospice care and you can revoke your participation at any time. There may be times where hospice is no longer appropriate, your condition improves, or you change your mind and decide to restart treatments. You can also re-apply for hospice benefits if necessary.
People my also change hospice providers with sufficient notice.
Where will I receive care?
Hospice is not as much a specific place, as a philosophy of care. Care is provided based on the patient’s needs and situation. It can be anywhere a patient calls home, including a private residence, nursing home or group home.
How do you help patients manage pain?
Most patients are able to reach an acceptable level of comfort with a combination of medication, counseling and therapies. We try to reach your preferred balance of relief and awareness. Some of our locations offer music, pet and massage therapies as well. Get more information on end-of-life pain management.
How do you help with specific health conditions?
Some of the end-stage illnesses for hospice referral include:
- Heart disease or heart failure
- COPD and other lung disease
- Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Adult failure to thrive
- Huntington's disease
- Liver disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Kidney failure
Is it too difficult to care for my loved one at home?
Caring for someone seriously ill can be challenging. Our staff is available around the clock to consult with you and visit as needed. Inpatient respite care is also available to give caregivers a break or to treat patients whose needs have become too complex to be met at home.
Will I need to make changes at home or have special medical equipment?
Compassus will assess and recommend equipment needs, as well as help you make arrangements to have them set up in your home. Many types of equipment are covered by Medicare or insurance plans.
How often will you visit?
Care is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The frequency and level of care varies depending on need. The hospice team works with you and your doctors to create a plan of care that adapts to your needs and priorities.
Does hospice support families after the death of a loved one?
Yes, Compassus offers a year of optional grief support and pre-grief support can begin even before the death of a loved one.
Is Compassus associated with a religious group?
Compassus is not associated with a particular religion or church. Our chaplains are also nondenominational. In offering spiritual support, we honor different faith backgrounds and provide spiritual care to patients of all religions and beliefs.
Are hospices inspected and regulated?
Yes. Compassus has met regulatory standards to maintain our license to deliver hospice care and are compliant with federal regulations to be approved for Medicare reimbursement. In fact, in 2012, Compassus became the first hospice provider in the U.S. to publicly reveal patient quality data, setting the standard by which all U.S. hospice providers are measured.
Should I bring up hospice care to the doctor or wait for a recommendation?
Even if you may not be ready to transition to hospice, it is important to talk in advance and have your questions and concerns addressed. Feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with your physician, family, clergy and friends. Learn about hospice eligibility.
Will my doctor still be involved in my care?
Yes. Your doctor works with the hospice team to plan care.
How can we start hospice care?
You may ask your physician to submit a referral, Call 833-380-9583 or contact a local Compassus program. After your physician refers you to hospice care, you and your family will meet with an admissions nurse to determine your needs and arrange for an individualized care plan.
Review more information on getting started with hospice or palliative care.
What about palliative care?
Palliative care is an extra layer of relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. Support can begin at any stage of an illness, with patients moving in and out of care as needed.
How do you ensure patient safety for Flu or COVID?
Compassus is taking extraordinary precautions to protect our patients, families and colleagues. Our care teams continue to visit patients because we understand it’s at times like these that you need us most. We also continue to monitor and follow all guidance from the CDC.