The Hospice Heart
Often the reaction to the word “hospice” is one of sympathy and discomfort. It is a challenge to explain that having the opportunity to support patients and loved ones at a difficult time in life’s journey could have no greater reward. Being immersed in a culture of service and commitment for those to whom we provide care and to each other is a privilege and creates a satisfaction not often encountered. The members of Heritage Hospice have a sincerity and devotion found only in those with the “hospice heart”.
“Thank you all for your support. I wish we had known about you sooner. I do hope you all continue your excellent work bringing joy when there is sorrow.”
– Surviving Family Member
Hospice care is a type of health care that focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient's pain and symptoms while attending to their emotional and spiritual needs at the end of life. Hospice prioritizes comfort and quality of life by reducing pain and suffering and it is an alternative to therapies that focus on life-prolonging measures that may be arduous, likely to cause more symptoms, or are not aligned with a person's goals.
Qualifying for Hospice
To qualify for hospice care, a hospice doctor and your doctor (if you have one) must certify that you’re terminally ill, meaning you have a life expectancy of 6 months or less if the disease runs its normal course. When you agree to hospice care, you’re agreeing to comfort care (palliative care) instead of care to cure your illness. You also must sign a statement choosing hospice care instead of other Medicare-covered treatments for your terminal illness and related conditions.
All items and services needed for pain relief and symptom management
Medical, nursing, and social services
Drugs for pain management
Durable medical equipment for pain relief and symptom management
Aide and homemaker services
Other covered services you need to manage your pain and other symptoms, as well as spiritual and grief counseling for you and your family
Medicare-certified hospice care is usually given in your home or other facility where you live, like a nursing home
Your costs in Original Medicare
You pay nothing for hospice care.
You may need to pay a co-payment of no more than $5 for each prescription drug and other similar products for pain relief and symptom control while you're at home. In the rare case your drug isn’t covered by the hospice benefit, your hospice provider should contact your Medicare drug plan to see if it's covered under Part D.
You may need to pay 5% of the Medicare-approved amount for inpatient respite care.
Medicare doesn't cover room and board when you get hospice care in your home or another facility where you live (like a nursing home).