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Frequently Asked Questions

When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made and who should make the decision?

Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice or should I raise it first?

What if our physician doesn’t know about hospice?

Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to a regular medical treatment?

Does hospice do anything to make death come sooner?

Is hospice care covered by insurance?

If the patient is not covered by Medicare or any other health insurance, will hospice still provide care?

Does hospice provide any help to the family after the patient dies?

How difficult is caring for a dying loved one at home?

How does hospice “manage pain”?

When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made and who should make the decision?

Understandably, most people are uncomfortable with the idea of stopping efforts to “beat” their disease. Hospice staff members are highly sensitive to these concerns and are available to discuss them with the patient, family and physician.

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Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice or should I raise it first?

The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician.

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What if our physician doesn’t know about hospice?
Most physicians know about hospice. If your physician wants more information, it is available from a number of sources including hospice personnel, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine or medical societies. Information on hospice also is available from the American Cancer Society, AARP and the Social Security Administration.

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Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to a regular medical treatment?
Yes. If improvement in the condition occurs and the disease seems to be in remission, the patient can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy.

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Does hospice do anything to make death come sooner?
Hospices do nothing either to speed up or to slow down the dying process. It provides specialized knowledge during  end of life care and support to the patient and family and friends.

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Is hospice care covered by insurance?
Hospice coverage is widely available. Hospice is a covered benefit through Medicare nationwide, through Medicaid in 38 states (but not in Louisiana), and by most private health insurance policies.

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If the patient is not covered by Medicare or any other health insurance, will hospice still provide care?

Most hospices will provide care for those who cannot pay, using money raised from the community or from memorial or foundation gifts.

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Does hospice provide any help to the family after the patient dies?

One of the most important aspects of hospice is the contact and support it provides for the family and friends for at least one year following the death of a loved one. Hospice also sponsors bereavement and support groups for anyone in the community who has experienced the death of a family member, friend or loved one.

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How difficult is caring for a dying loved one at home?
It is never easy and sometimes can be quite hard. At the end of a long, progressive illness, nights especially can be very long, lonely and scary. Hospices have staff available around the clock to consult with the family and to make night visits as appropriate.

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How does hospice “manage pain”?
Hospice nurses, doctors and therapists are up–to-date on the latest medications, treatments and devices for pain and symptom management. Hospice care also addresses  emotional and spiritual pain.   Social workers and counselors, including clergy, are available to assist the patient, family members and friends.  

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