Hospice - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the levels of care?

  • Routine Care - Nursing, social work, chaplain, home health aide and volunteer services provided to patients in the home or nursing home.
  • Continuous Care - Hospice can provide nursing care eight to 24 hours a day in times of medical crisis for pain and symptom control. This can often minimize the need for hospitalization.
  • Acute Inpatient Care - Hospice can provide short-term inpatient care for pain control symptom management in facilities approved by Beaumont Hospice.
  • Respite Care - Hospice will provide short-term respite care to give patients time in a setting other than the home. Facilities must be approved by Hospice.

Who does hospice care for?

  • people with life-limiting illness
  • people who choose comfort and pain management rather than curative treatment
  • people who choose no extreme means to sustain life
  • people with end-stage diseases such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, Alzheimer's disease, kidney disease, ALS and AIDS
  • family members who are grieving the loss of their loved one
  • people with life-limiting illness
  • people who choose comfort and pain management rather than curative treatment
  • people who choose no extreme means to sustain life
  • people with end-stage diseases such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, Alzheimer's disease, kidney disease, ALS and AIDS
  • family members who are grieving the loss of their loved one

What services does hospice provide?

Hospice care, unlike home health care, provides treatment to manage pain and symptoms associated with a terminal illness. In addition, hospice care gives support - emotionally, spiritually, and socially to the patient and the family. The goal of hospice is to provide comfort and care, not "cure" the illness or disease, like home health care. Types of hospice care services provided depend on the patient's needs and preferences. Services may include:

  • Nursing care - In consultation with the physician, a registered nurse will set up a plan of care. Nursing care may involve administering medication, monitoring the condition of patient, controlling pain, and providing other health support.
  • Medical social services - Medical social workers provide various services to the patient, including counseling and locating community resources to help the patient and his or her family. Some social workers are also the patient's case manager when the patient's medical condition is very complex and requires coordination of many services.
  • Physician services - The physician plays an important role in determining the plan of care with the hospice care team.
  • Spiritual services - Depending on the patient's religious or spiritual beliefs, hospice care can include support from clergy or other spiritual counselors for the patient and the family.
  • Home care aide or homemaker services - Home health aides can help the patient with his or her basic personal needs such as getting out of bed, walking, bathing, and dressing. Some aides have received specialized training to assist with more specialized care under supervision of a nurse. A homemaker or attendant can maintain the household with meal preparation, laundry, grocery shopping, and other housekeeping chores.
  • 24-hour care or on-call care - Hospice care teams are usually available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visits or phone consultations can often be made any time of day.
  • Hospice inpatient care - At times, it may become necessary to move the hospice patient from the home to a hospital or other care facility. The hospice can arrange this care and then resume hospice care when appropriate.
  • Volunteer care - Volunteers are often part of hospice care teams, providing services ranging from companionship to carpooling. Volunteers often fill in the gaps for families dealing with a terminal illness and provide support for both the patient and the family.
  • Physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy - As a terminal illness progresses, the patient may lose his or her ability to accomplish basic daily tasks such as dressing or feeding. Physical, occupational, and/or speech therapists can work with the patient to find new ways to accomplish lost functions.
  • Respite care - Caring for a terminally ill patient 24 hours a day can be exhausting for a family. Respite care gives the family a much-needed break by arranging for a brief in-patient stay for the patient, or extra services in the home.
  • Bereavement support - Care for the family does not end with the death of a patient. The hospice care team works with the surviving family members to help them cope with the grieving process. Bereavement support may include counseling, support groups, or medical referrals.

Physician Services

  • Hospice physicians are available to meet general medical needs for symptom and pain control and to oversee management of the illness and related conditions to the extent these needs are not met by the attending physician.

Skilled Nursing

  • Nurses coordinate all services necessary to the patient's illness, which may include teaching, supervision and direct care.

How is hospice paid for?

Most insurers (including Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross and HMOs) reimburse for hospice care. Most insurers also cover short stays in hospitals or nursing homes for pain and symptom control or for respite care. No patient is denied hospice care due to financial or insurance reasons. Contributions to Beaumont Hospice, a non-profit organization, allow us to provide services regardless of ability to pay.