WHAT IS HOSPICE?

Most people if asked, say they hope for a peaceful,
comfortable death
surrounded by their loved ones. 

HOSPICE HELPS MAKE THIS POSSIBLE. 

Hospice is a philosophy of care that focuses on patient comfort and quality of life rather than on curing disease. 
Hospice serves patients and family members in equal measure. It uses a team of physicians, registered nurses, hospice aides, social workers, chaplains and volunteers, all of whom offer support and compassion to help patients and their loved ones during one of life’s most significant journeys.

Hospice neither hastens nor postpones dying and is designed to help patients live the remainder of their lives as fully as possible. Just as doctors and midwives lend support and expertise during the time of childbirth, hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the last period of life.

At any time during a life-limiting illness, it is appropriate to discuss all care options, including hospice care, which is available to those for whom attempts at curative treatments have been exhausted. Understandably, most people are uncomfortable with the idea of stopping aggressive efforts to "beat" a disease. Hospice staff members are sensitive to these concerns and always available to discuss them with the patient and family.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 Where is hospice care delivered?

In most instances, hospice is provided in the home. However, for patients who are unable to be cared for at home or who may be experiencing a medical crisis, there are three inpatient facilities operated by Alive Hospice in Davidson County. Hospice care can be provided to patients wherever they live. This means a patient living in a nursing or long-term care facility can receive specialized visits from hospice nurses, hospice aides, chaplains, social workers and volunteers, in addition to other care and services provided by the facility.

#2 May a hospice patient continue to use their regular doctor?

Yes, patients may continue seeing their primary care doctor while also in the care of hospice. Communication between the hospice team and the patient’s primary care doctor is on-going.

#3 How does the hospice admission process work?

A patient’s physician makes the formal request or "referral" to hospice. The patient will be asked to sign consent and insurance forms. The Hospice Election Form says that the patient understands the purpose of care is aimed at pain relief and symptom control. It also outlines the services available. The form Medicare patients sign also describes how electing the Medicare Hospice Benefit affects other Medicare coverage.

#4 Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery return to regular medical treatment?

Certainly. If a patient's condition improves, he/she can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy or simply resume daily life. If the discharged patient should later need to return to hospice, Medicare and many private insurance providers will allow additional coverage for this purpose.

#5 What will happen if a patient outlives their prognosis?

When pain and symptoms are brought under control, the condition of the patient often improves and some live longer than their original prognosis. When this is the case, as long as the patient remains hospice-eligible in accordance with Medicare guidelines, the patient may continue to receive hospice care.

#6 What specific services does hospice provide to home-based patients and families?

A team of physicians, nurses, social workers, clergy, therapists, and volunteers care for patients. Hospice provides medications, supplies, hospital beds and other needed equipment. In general, hospice will assist in every possible way to make home care convenient, clean and safe. While family and friends deliver most care, Alive Hospice provides volunteers to assist with errands and to provide a break for primary caregivers. While no one from Alive Hospice will move into a patient’s home, they will work with you to determine the frequency of visits from your team members in order to address your particular needs.

#7 Does hospice do anything to make death come sooner?

Hospice neither hastens nor postpones dying. Just as doctors and midwives lend support and expertise during the time of childbirth, hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process.

#8 How does hospice manage pain?

Hospice nurses and doctors are well-versed in treatments for pain and symptom relief, also known as “palliative care”. And hospice believes that emotional and spiritual pain is just as real and in need of attention as physical pain. It is the goal of hospice to have the patient as pain free and alert as possible. By constantly consulting with the patient, hospice has been very successful in reaching this goal.

#9 Does hospice provide help to the family after the patient dies?

Alive Hospice provides continuing support for caregivers for at least a year following the death of a loved one. Alive sponsors bereavement groups and provides support for anyone in the community who has experienced the death of a family member or friend.

#10 How are hospice services paid for?

Medicare Hospice Benefit: Medicare covers hospice care including caregiver visits, equipment and supplies related to the primary illness. Alive Hospice contacts the Medicare provider and notifies the patient of any costs for which he or she are responsible.
Private insurance: Many private insurance policies cover most, if not all, hospice services. Alive Hospice contacts the insurance provider and notifies the patient of any out-of-pocket costs.
Room and board fees: Residential care is needed when a patient’s medical condition is stable, but the patient is no longer able to remain at home. Medicare and most private insurance plans do not cover costs associated with living at The Alive Hospice Residence. Room and board fees are billed on a sliding fee scale. Social workers at Alive can assist patients and their families to secure financial assistance if needed.  Learn More

#11 Will Alive Hospice provide care if the patient is not covered by Medicare or other insurance?

No one is denied care based on ability to pay. Alive Hospice will assist families in finding out whether the patient is eligible for any coverage. Barring this, Alive Hospice will provide care for anyone who cannot pay using money raised from the community, including memorial or foundation gifts.