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Frequently Asked Questions

Determining the appropriate hospice care for you or a loved one is an overwhelming task to take on during an already difficult time. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about hospice care:


What is hospice?

Hospice care often misunderstood. Choosing it does not mean you are giving up on life. Instead, it means you are focusing on comfort instead of a cure so that a better quality of life can be maintained for as long as possible. 

At the center of hospice is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain free, with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death. It provides personalized services and a caring community so necessary preparation for death can be attained in a way that is satisfactory for you and your loved ones.

Hospice care can take place in a variety of settings, wherever your loved one calls home. Compassionate care provides the physical, emotional and spiritual resources needed to make the most of every moment.   

Hospice care may be right for your loved one when living with an end-stage illness, which has a six-month life expectancy, should the disease run its normal course. There are no limits on the amount of time you can receive hospice, but your physician must order the service once every six months to determine if our care is still appropriate. 

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Who can receive hospice care?

Hospice care is appropriate if your loved one’s doctor and the hospice medical director certify the disease is end-stage, with a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course. At times, a disease does not run its normal course and patients may be on hospice services for periods longer than six months. 

Hospice care provides comfort and support for patients with all types of illnesses including:

  • Cancer
  • Heart, lung, vascular, kidney and neuromuscular diseases
  • All types of dementia
  • AIDS

If you feel that your loved one may benefit from hospice care, we are only a phone call away. A member of our experienced staff can work with you and your loved one’s physician to determine if hospice care is an option. If you prefer to be contacted via e-mail, please Contact Us and we will promptly reply to your request.

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Who is involved in the hospice process?

The hospice team usually consists of the person receiving care, their family and loved ones, and:

  • The physician
  • Our medical director
  • Hospice nurses
  • Certified nursing assistants
  • Social workers
  • Counselors
  • Spiritual caregivers
  • Trained volunteers 
  • Speech, physical, and occupational therapists, as needed

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Who chooses my provider (hospice agency)?

The family, in consultation with your loved one’s physician. According to Medicare, “a patient is free to choose any qualified agency offering him/her services.”

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What should I ask when I speak to a Kindred Hospice admission coordinator?

Before you speak with our admission coordinator, compile a short list of hospice needs for you or your loved one. We will take as much time as needed to cover topics such as:

  • The specific services we offer
  • How often a nurse or other hospice staff will visit
  • Our accreditation status
  • The quality standards our hospice meets
  • How our caregivers are trained

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How often will the hospice team visit, and who will they be?

Every person receiving hospice care has access to a registered nurse, social worker, home health aide, bereavement counselor, spiritual counselor and hospice volunteer. Visits are based on you and your loved one’s needs as described in the personalized care plan and may change or evolve over time.

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Is hospice available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

Hospice care is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We have nurses on call and respond within minutes, if necessary. We also have support services on call, such as social workers and chaplains,  as well.

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Why are hospice volunteers needed and what do they do?

Hospice volunteers provide essential support, including running errands, preparing meals, assistance with home activities, emotional and spiritual support and companionship as each family deals with grief and bereavement. They have all been screened and trained to assure that each person is right for this type of volunteer work.

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Can I be cared for by hospice if I reside in a nursing facility?

Yes. Hospice services can be provided to a person who has a terminal illness wherever he or she resides.

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Does my loved one need to be "homebound" to receive hospice care?

No. The “homebound” requirement is only for Medicare home health services (see Home Medical Care FAQ). We encourage your loved one to live life to the fullest—continue attending church, visiting family and even traveling out of town.

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Do state and federal agencies inspect and evaluate hospices?

Yes. There are strict state and federal licensure requirements that must be met by hospice programs in order to provide hospice care. Our hospice locations undergo inspection and surveys to ensure they meet regulatory standards. They must meet these standards in order to maintain their license to operate and the certification that permits Medicare reimbursement.

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Does a hospice staff member need to be with my loved one at all times?

Hospice is designed to provide intermittent visits by the hospice team members unless there are significant symptoms that need constant monitoring.

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How is hospice paid for?

Hospice is paid for through the Medicare Hospice Benefit and most private insurers. Medicaid benefits vary by state and private insurances offer a wide variety of coverage. Our expert financial staff can help you understand coverage provisions and will contact Medicaid or insurance companies to determine your loved one’s specific benefits.

For more details see the Hospice Payment Options.

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If my loved one shows signs of recovery, can he or she be returned to regular, curative medical treatment?

Yes! Sometimes health does improve or your loved one’s illness goes into remission. If that happens, the doctor may feel that your loved one no longer needs hospice care. You always have the right to stop hospice care, for any reason. If you discontinue hospice care, your loved one will receive the type of Medicare coverage they had before electing hospice. If your loved one becomes eligible again, he or she can go back to hospice care at any time.

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What rights do hospice patients have?

Anyone receiving hospice care has the following rights regarding his or her care:

  • To choose any Medicare-certified agency
  • To be told when Medicare will not cover a service (verbally and in writing)
  • To receive services the doctor ordered
  • To be involved in planning care
  • To choose to transfer to another hospice provider if unhappy with the current agency

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