Hospice Basics: Care at Home or Wherever You Live

What is hospice care?

Hospice circle of care

What is hospice care?

Home hospice improves comfort and quality of life for people with a terminal illness who choose to live at home. When your goals transition to comfort care, hospice provides intensive relief of pain and other symptoms. It also offers emotional and spiritual support so patients and their families can focus on what matters most to them.

The hospice agency works with a primary caregiver, usually a family member, and a doctor to create a plan of care. The primary caregiver provides much of the physical care for in-home hospice, with assistance from the hospice team.

People often tell us they prefer to receive hospice care in the comfort of their own home. A 2021 survey by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reported that most days of care were provided in a private home followed by nursing facilities and assisted living. The median length of stay for in-home hospice was 27 days.

Comfort care at home, independent living, nursing home or wherever you call home

Providing the right care at the right time requires clear conversations among patients, families, doctors and the hospice provider. The plan of care outlines the needs and priorities of the patient and their family. The plan includes how, when and where the hospice team will meet those needs.

At Compassus, a hospice doctor and hospice-trained registered nurse (RN) manage care. A hospice nurse will visit your home on a schedule agreed upon in the plan of care. An on-call nurse is available by phone 24/7 to address your needs.

Your home hospice team includes:

Home Medical Equipment, Medications and Therapy

Home medical equipment for hospice care is provided by Medicare, VA benefits and many other insurance plans. Equipment includes medical beds, geriatric chairs, walkers, oxygen equipment and more.

Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicine related to the patient's terminal illness are provided at little or no cost. The hospice benefit includes some personal care supplies.

Medicare benefits cover physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech

therapy and dietary counseling. Families should ask potential providers about support programs for veterans, patients with dementia or other specific needs.

Paying for At-Home Care

Comfort care is covered by Medicare, VA benefits, Medicaid and most private insurance companies. Hospice is a financial relief for many families because services such as medication, equipment and supplies, are covered by hospice benefits – with few or no out-of-pocket expenses.

Support for Family Caregivers

Respite care helps family caregivers receive much-needed rest or time for important events. Medicare benefits pay for patient transport and up to five consecutive days of inpatient care at a Medicare-approved nursing facility or hospital. You can get respite care more than once, but only on an occasional basis.

Patients may require short-term continuous home care or general inpatient care as the need arises. A referral from your doctor is required for these services to be covered by Medicare or private insurance plans.

Starting Home Hospice Care

Step One:

Visit the Locations page to find the program nearest you. We’ll help you learn more about the process or schedule a no-obligation consultation.

Step Two:

Our admissions coordinator will promptly contact all responsible parties to coordinate family consultations and/or patient assessments.

Step Three:

Our admission team consults, evaluates and initiates care, if appropriate. We bring hospice care to where the patient calls home.

Grief Counseling

The pain of loss can begin long before death. Hospice offers patients and their families emotional support from anticipatory grief, through the passing of a loved one and 13 months of follow-up counseling.

Hospice care is not about giving up. It is about living as well as possible, all the way to very end.