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Questions About Hospice

When is it the right time for hospice? / When should hospice be considered?

We made a special guide specifically to answer this question. Click HERE to view. 

What is hospice?

Hospice is comfort care for those facing life-limiting illness.  The goal of hospice is to manage symptoms and provide comfort while helping to live each day with quality and dignity.  Care is provided by a team of hospice professionals: Physician, Nurse, Social Worker, Chaplain, Health Aide and Volunteers.  The hospice team works together to meet physical, social and spiritual needs.

Where is Hospice provided?

Hospice care can be provided wherever you call home: Family/patient home, nursing home, assisted living community, hospital, or in-patient hospice unit. The hospice team provides an assessment in the home environment and determines what resources are needed. 

Will Hospice provide 24 hour care?

Hospice is not intended for 24 hour care.  The benefit is regulated by Medicare/Medicaid and private insurance plans which generally do not pay for 24 hour care.  Hospice therefore depends on and works with a primary caregiver – family, friends, private duty aides or care givers provided by a nursing facility. 

What if I need help in the middle of the night, weekend, or holiday?

Horizon Hospice is available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  When you call, a nurse will assess your situation, make suggestions or make a visit. Our chaplains and Social Workers are also on call to provide emotional and spiritual support when needed.  Horizon is available 24/7 for phone calls, emergency visits and crisis care.

When does someone start Hospice Care?

Hospice supports those with a life-limiting illness who are no longer benefitting from curative treatment. Each person’s situation is unique.  A common myth about hospice is that a person is close to death when hospice starts.  The philosophy of hospice is to live life to the fullest.  Starting services earlier allows for more help and care that benefits both the patient and the family. 

Can my doctor be involved with my care?  Will I continue to have office visits?

Yes. Your hospice nurse will work with your doctor to create a plan of care to meet your unique needs.  Often, scheduled visits to the doctor’s office are no longer needed as a hospice nurse visits you in your home and relays information to your doctor. 

Can I go to the hospital, or to the emergency room?

Yes…for conditions unrelated to the hospice diagnosis.  Hospice must be called before an ER or hospital visit.  Your hospice team will work with you and the hospital to determine next steps. 

How long does Hospice Care last?

Hospice may continue as long as a doctor and your hospice team certify that Medicare guidelines are met. Sometimes patients on hospice improve to a point of no longer qualifying for hospice.  If that happens you are able to pick up the benefit again when health changes occur that meet guidelines.

What type of care is not provided by hospice?

Custodial care such as meal preparation, cleaning, and supervision are not services that hospice care covers. It is possible to receive that care from Horizon through our In-Home Caregivers program.

How is Hospice paid for?

Hospice care is paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations. 

How do I find out more and if I or my loved one qualifies?

Call: 414-365-8300  |  Ask for a hospice intake nurse. They are available seven days a week 8-5PM.

Do you have to be a code status of “Do Not Resuscitate”, DNR, to be on hospice?

Signing a DNR means that you do not want to be resuscitated with CPR or other means should your breathing or heart stop.  Preparing an advanced medical directive, and/or Power of Attorney, is strongly encouraged by medical professionals as it helps direct family/patient representative on wishes regarding medical treatment and health care decisions if someone becomes unable to make their own decisions.  However, it is not required for hospice.