Before signing up for hospice care, it’s essential to understand what hospice does not tell you. Hospice is a comfort care and support service for patients and families facing a life-threatening illness. However, under hospice care, the focus shifts from curing disease to providing comfort and support for the duration of the medical condition. Considering and entering hospice can be a difficult transition for you and your family, so it’s crucial to understand what to expect before making your decision.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is a type of health care that focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient’s symptoms. A team of trained professionals works together to provide comprehensive care for the patient and their family.

The hospice team may include nurses, doctors, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers. Your hospice team typically provides care in the home but can also provide care in other settings such as nursing homes or hospitals.

What Does Hospice Care Include?

The focus of hospice care is on managing the full range of symptoms associated with a terminal illness and providing psychosocial and spiritual support for the duration of an illness.

It’s not true that hospice care ends after 6 months. If you have a life-threatening diagnosis and a doctor believes you are likely to pass away within 6 months, you can choose hospice care. 

However, if 6 months go by and you still need hospice care, you can have your doctor reapply for your hospice benefits.

It’s also not true that you can’t leave hospice care. Some patients receive life-saving transplants or get better and leave hospice care. They may continue their healthcare with other medical providers outside of the hospice system. (1)

Hospice care also includes bereavement services for the family following a death.

What Does Hospice Care Not Include?

Hospice care does not include curative treatment. The goal of hospice care is to provide comfort and support rather than to cure the disease.

Hospice may not include medications you have grown accustomed to taking, such as chemotherapy or other medical supplements. Instead of giving medicines or nutritional supplements to heal or abate your health issues, hospice focuses on helping you stay comfortable.

In addition, some hospice organizations do not offer IV services as part of their care. Depending on your hospice organization and your medical condition, you may not absorb painkillers well enough to take them by mouth. So, be sure to ask about this if you know you will need IV services from your hospice provider. (2)

How Do I Choose a Hospice Provider?

When choosing a hospice provider, asking questions and getting as much information as possible is essential.

Some things you may want to consider asking about include:

  • What are the qualifications of the hospice team?
  • What services does the hospice provide?
  • What are the costs of hospice care?
  • How will my loved ones be involved in my care?
  • What are the hospice policies regarding end-of-life care?
  • Will I have licensed doctors who check in on me and my care?

Deciding to sign up for hospice care can be difficult. However, it’s essential to understand what to expect before making your decision. By researching and considering your options for hospice care, you can decide if it is the right choice for you or a loved one.

How to Pay for Hospice Care

There are a few ways to pay for hospice care, including private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans Affairs benefits. You can also choose to self-pay for hospice care.

If you’re unsure how you will pay for hospice care, ask your hospice provider about payment options before making your decision. North Carolina-owned hospice providers will provide hospice services even if you and your family are indigent.

Hospice providers licensed by North Carolina cover the state, but Wake County has several licensed hospice providers. If you have questions about Medicaid coverage or enrolling in hospice care in Wake county, contact one of the hospice organizations listed below:

  • Liberty Home Care and Hospice, Liberty Home Care, LLC, SITE: 3134 Wendell Blvd, Level A, Wendell, NC, 27591, (919) 277-2244 Fax: (919) 277-2246 HOS3058
  • Cardinal Hospice Care, Continuum II Home Care & Hospice, Inc., SITE: 3609 Bond Street, Raleigh, NC, 27604, (910) 989-2682 Fax: (910) 989-2691 HOS3305
  • Amedisys Hospice, Tender Loving Care Health Care Services Southeast, LLC, SITE: 220 New Fidelity Court, Garner, NC, 27529, (919) 773-4865 Fax: (919) 773-4985 HOS3147
  • Transitions LifeCare: Hospice of Wake County, Inc., SITE: 200 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC, 27607, (919) 828-0890 Fax: (919) 719-0395 HOS1595
  • Duke Hospice: Duke Health University Health System, Inc, SITE: 3400 Executive Drive, Suite 205, Raleigh, NC, 27609, (919) 620-3853 Fax: (919) 620-9188 HOS2125
  • Promedica Hospice (Raleigh): In-Home Health, LLC, SITE: 4505 Falls of Neuse Road; Suite 650, Raleigh, NC, 27609, (919) 877-9959 Fax: (919) 235-0770 HOS2281
  • Community Home Care & Hospice: Community Home Care of Vance County, LLC, SITE: 7714 Chapel Hill Road, Cary, NC, 27513, (919) 233-1100 Fax: (877) 765-4918 HOS2223

What to Do If You’re Unhappy With Your Hospice Care

If you’re unhappy with your hospice care, it’s essential to speak up. You have the right to change hospice providers if you or your family is not satisfied with the care you’re receiving. 

You can also file a complaint with North Carolina’s Hospice Association, Center for Medicaid Services, or NC Medicare oversight.

Recently in Texas, a fraudulent private hospice company (Novus Health Services in Dallas) had several individuals receive convictions for illegally admitting patients who were not appropriate for hospice and submitting false claims for hospice services.

Novus doctors prescribed Schedule II controlled substances, such as morphine, hydromorphone, and fentanyl, by pre-signing blank prescriptions and giving those to the medical director and others at Novus to let them prescribe controlled substances without any physician oversight. (3)

Researching different hospice organizations and talking with nurses or other healthcare providers can help you choose the best hospice program for your situation! Ask plenty of questions, and check out their ratings and reviews also.

With an understanding of what to expect, you can make an informed decision about your hospice care choices. 

We Can Help

At Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, we understand that end-of-life plans can feel complex and emotionally exhausting. It’s a difficult time for a family when you must adjust to the reality that a loved one is close to passing away. We often work with families to help them find grief counseling after a death with state-licensed Transitions Grief Care (listed above) after a loss.

At Renaissance, we create memorable and beautiful events for loved ones to gather and remember a loved one well. We are a full-service funeral home and crematory, offering on-site cremations in our Cremation Tribute Center. 

Contact us to prepare for a funeral or memorial service, make a preplan, or consider your end-of-life options. We are here for you and offer tours of our facility by appointment. Contact us today to start making the plans you need for your family’s future.