Frequently Asked Questions:

* The information provided is agency specific and applies to Sans Bois Hospice Mission and Policy. Not all Hospice agencies offer the same services.

  1. What is Hospice and how does it work?
    Hospice is a type of “end of life” care that focuses on palliative care rather than curative treatment. Hospice provides a holistic approach to a person’s care, involving many different disciplines to provide comfort in all aspects of care whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Hospice provides support to the patient and family while assisting with end of life details.

     

  2. What is palliative care?
    Palliative care is also called “comfort” care. It is a type of treatment that provides quality of life by focusing on symptom management rather than curative treatment.

     

  3. When is Hospice care considered appropriate?
    Hospice care is generally suggested when a patient has a terminal diagnosis with a prognosis of 6mo or less to live. At this point in a patient’s disease process, a physician has determined that curative treatment is no longer effective.

     

  4. What is a 6 month prognosis?
    A 6 month prognosis is simply an estimated time frame that a person is given to describe the progression of the disease process. It is determined by the normal course of progression that is seen with the diagnosed disease process. It is only an estimate. It does not mean that this is when a person will pass.

     

  5. If a person lives past this 6 month prognosis, do they lose their Hospice benefit?
    At the end of each benefit period, a person is reevaluated to ensure that hospice criteria continue to be met. As long as hospice criteria are met, a patient can remain on hospice without fear of discharge or loss of benefit.

     

  6. Is Hospice only for the elderly?
    Hospice is for anyone with a terminal diagnosis, who has a prognosis of 6 month or less, and wishes to seek palliative care rather than curative treatment.

     

  7. How much does Hospice cost?
    Medicare and most private insurances (if a hospice benefit is included), cover Hospice services at 100%.

     

  8. What type of supplies does Hospice provide?
    Hospice provides nutritional supplements, DME equipment, personal care/incontinent supplies, and medications that pertain to the terminal diagnosis (including comfort meds such as pain meds, anxiety meds, and nausea meds).

     

  9. Does Hospice use meds to hasten the process?
    Hospice focuses on palliative care whether through the use of medications or non-pharmacological measures. Medications are only used when they are necessary for symptom control.

     

  10. Do Hospice patients lose their rights?
    Patient’s rights and freedom of choice follow them wherever their healthcare may take them. Patients have the same rights in any healthcare situation and can refuse any treatment at any time. This remains true with Hospice care.

     

  11. Do Hospice patients lose their independence?
    Quite the contrary. Hospice encourages independence as long as it is safe and tolerable for the patient. Hospice even offers
    physical therapy to help maintain current functional levels and teach safety measures.

     

  12. Does Hospice try to eliminate a person’s nutritional intake?
    Declining nutritional intake is a very common experience at the end of life, no matter the disease process. Hospice provides nutritional supplements to help restore some of the nutrients lost and provide comfort to those who are unable to tolerate a regular intake.

     

  13. Is Hospice care only provided in residential settings?
    Hospice is provided in the “home” wherever that may be. This not only applies to residential settings, but also assisted living facilities and long term care facilities.

     

  14. Do medical professionals continue to seek treatment for hospice patients?
    While treatment for the terminal diagnosis and any comorbidity is no longer curative in nature, treatment continues to be sought to manage any symptoms experienced as part of the Hospice’s Mission to provide palliative care.

     

  15. Is Hospice only available during daytime hours? What do we do if something happens in the middle of the night?
    Hospice staff is on call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. If concerns arise, call the Hospice nurse for further direction.

     

  16. Does signing up for Hospice mean “giving up”?
    Signing up for Hospice simply means choosing to have quality of life…choosing to “LIVE” life for as long as you can.

     

  17. Does Hospice impose on a person’s personal or religious beliefs?
    Hospice staff is here to support each situation, not impose personal beliefs on others, regardless of the nature.

     

  18. Can a patient discharge from Hospice services once they have elected their benefit?
    If a patient’s condition improves and they no longer meet Hospice criteria, a Hospice agency can discharge with referral to a more appropriate home care service. Patients also have the right to revocate the Hospice benefit at any time they wish to do so.

     

  19. Are Hospice services just beneficial to the patient?
    While the actual Hospice benefit only applies to the patient, Hospice staff is attentative to the families’ needs, whether it is emotional, spiritual, or financial, and assists with providing beneficial resources as needed. Hospice also provides a 13 month Bereavement Plan to assist families in the grieving process.

     

  20. How do I know which Hospice will give my loved one the best care?
    Medicare has provided a Hospice Compare website to allow families to locate local agencies and compare their performance to national averages.