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Q: When is the right time to ask about hospice?

A: Being proactive is best. Learn more about hospice services and ask questions about what to expect before a crisis. Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it is best for family members to share their wishes long before it becomes a concern.


Q: How does hospice care begin?

A: Typically, hospice care starts as soon as a formal request or a ‘referral’ is made by the patient’s doctor. A Homestead team member will make every effort to visit the patient within 48 hours of that referral, providing the visit meets the needs and schedule of the patient and family and/or caregiver.


Q: Will I be the only hospice patient that the Homestead team cares for?

A: No, there will be other patients in Homestead’s care, but each patient has access to an interdisciplinary team (IDT) that consists of a registered nurse, social worker, CNA, chaplain and volunteer. The IDT will write a customized care plan to meet the care needs of the patient and family.


Q: Is hospice available after hours?

A: Homestead Hospice care is available 24-hours, seven days per week and an IDT member will return a call from a caregiver as soon as possible.


Q: How does hospice work to keep the patient comfortable?

A: Many patients may have pain and other serious symptoms as their illness progresses. The Homestead team of professionals has the knowledge to care for all types of physical and emotional symptoms that cause pain, discomfort and distress. With the Homestead Clinical Pathway for Crisis Management, the caregiver will proactively be prepared for disease-specific anticipatory symptoms that may occur.


Q: Can I be cared for by Homestead if I live in a nursing home or other type of long-term care facility?

A: Yes, Homestead Hospice services can be provided to a terminally ill person wherever they live. This means a patient living in an assisted living or long-term care nursing home can receive specialized visits from the IDT Team in addition to the care and services provided by the nursing facility. Homestead and the nursing home will have a written agreement in order to serve the patient of the facility.


Q: When is it time for hospice?

A: If your loved one has experienced one or more of the following. A patient’s eligibility can depend on a specific illness. Criteria is based on a patient’s primary diagnosis and does need a referral from their physician. Read more about disease-specific criteria or request a Homestead Hospice consult.

  • Diagnosis of a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less

  • No plans for further aggressive or curative treatments

  • Frequent trips to the hospital/emergency room

  • Loss of weight

  • Frequent falls

  • Rapid decline of health

  • Deteriorating cognitive/mental abilities

  • Incontinence of bowel or bladder

  • Frequent or recurring infections

  • Two or more life-threatening conditions


Q: Am I automatically discharged from hospice after six months of care?

A: No, a patient is certified for a 90-day care period by Homestead’s IDT and the patient’s physician. After that period, a patient may be recertified for an additional 90-day period of care. After the initial, six-month period, a patient may be recertified for an additional 60-day period as necessary. These 60-day recertification periods must be made via a face-to-face visits by either a hospice Medical Director or a Nurse Practitioner.


Q: How is hospice care paid for?

A: Many patients have Medicare and Medicaid insurance and it will pay for the costs associated with having a terminal illness. Private insurance will also pay for the hospice benefit depending on your specific policy. A Homestead social worker can discuss the benefits that are available for the patient. Homestead Hospice does not refuse service to anyone in need.


Q: Do I have to give up my primary doctor?

A: No, the patient’s care team includes their own personal physician. After diagnosis, your personal physician is the one who recommends hospice and their duties don’t stop there. The patient’s physician will help to oversee the plan of care with the aid of Homestead’s Medical Director. Between the two physicians, they will design a plan of care that is individualized and best suited for the patient’s symptom management.


Q: Do I have to give up all treatments to receive hospice care?

A: Not necessarily. Hospice care is very individualized and depends on the patient and their diagnosis. If the treatment is Palliative Care (still under a curative treatment) it may be appropriate for the patient to be undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment.


Q: Does the hospice benefit cover other services?

A: Yes, the hospice benefit covers the following:

  • All the equipment and medications related to the hospice diagnosis will be coordinated by a Homestead hospice nurse. It is important to speak with your hospice nurse before medications, equipment and/or supplies run out. To avoid paying for them without the hospice coverage, do not contact the companies directly.

  • All medication related to the hospice diagnosis

  • All durable medical equipment (bed, walker, etc.) related to the hospice diagnosis

  • All medical supplies related to the hospice diagnosis


Q: Is hospice only for cancer patients?

A: No, hospice is not just for cancer patients. Because each person is unique, and their disease progression can be different, Homestead will create a customized plan of care to meet care needs. Homestead provides care to patients with any end-stage diagnosis. Diagnoses include, but are not limited to:

  • Metastatic malignancies

  • Heart disease including congestive heart failure

  • Neurological diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, etc.)

  • Kidney disease

  • Liver disease

  • Lung disease

  • Stroke and/or coma

  • AIDS

  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)

  • Failure of multiple organ systems

  • Senescence (the physical and mental conditions associated with advancing age)

  • Alzheimer’s Disease

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