Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for hospice care?

Hospice is available for patients with a life expectancy of six months or less, as determined by your physician and the hospice medical director. For more information, ask your doctor, visit our hospice eligibility page or contact the Compassus location nearest you.

Who provides hospice care?

Hospice care is provided by doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, health aides, bereavement counselors and volunteers. This group is referred to as an interdisciplinary team, which is headed by a Medical Director.

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 hospice services 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 a similar set of services from all approved hospice providers.

Who pays for hospice?

Hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies. Hospice is a financial relief to many because services related to the life-limiting illness, such as medication, equipment and supplies, are covered by hospice benefits–with few or no out-of-pocket expenses.

Who can hospice help?

Hospice care is there for anyone with a terminal diagnosis and a life expectancy of six months or less. Some of the end-stage illnesses for hospice referral include:

Where will I receive hospice 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 nursing home or group home.

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 in hospice at any time. There may be times where hospice is no longer appropriate, your condition may improve, or you may change your mind and decide to pursue treatment for your illness. You can also re-apply for hospice benefits if necessary.

Is it too difficult to care for my loved one at home?

Caring for a loved one who is seriously ill is never easy and can be challenging at times. Our staff is available around the clock to consult with you and visit as needed. Inpatient care is also available to give caregivers a break or treat patients whose needs have become too complex to be met at home.

Will I need to make changes in home or have special 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. Preparing your home and your heart for hospice

How often will I receive care?

Care is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The frequency and level of care varies depending on the patient’s and family’s needs. Hospice visits are based on a care plan and the condition of the patient.

What if my condition improves?

It is possible for people to go on and off hospice as needed. If your condition improves, your disease is in remission or you change your mind and want to receive curative treatment, you may be discharged from hospice and return to regular care. The decision is yours.

Does hospice care for family members continue after death?

Yes, Compassus provides optional grief support for at least a year after their loved one dies. Grief support can begin even before the death of a loved one.

How does hospice care manage pain?

Most patients can reach a level of comfort that is acceptable to them 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.

Is Compassus associated with a religious group?

No, Compassus is not associated with a particular religion or church, and our chaplains are 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.

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Should I bring up hospice care to my physician or wait for a recommendation?

Even if you may not be ready to transition to hospice, it is important to have these discussions 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 benefits end after six months?

No. Medicare and most insurance providers will continue to pay for hospice care if the physician confirms a limited life expectancy.

Will my doctor still be involved in my care?

Yes. Your doctor works with the hospice team to plan care.

How can I start the process to seek hospice care?

You may ask your physician to submit a referral, or you may contact your local Compassus program if you’d like us to work directly with your physician. 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.