Hospice FAQs | What is Hospice | Mount Carmel Health

Hospice FAQs

What is hospice?

Hospice is a special kind of care for people who are living with an end-stage disease. If you have a life-limiting illness, have decided not to pursue further curative care, and want comfort and quality of life in the time you have, hospice care is designed for you. Hospice focuses on managing any pain and discomfort you may have and provides an array of services for you and your family to ease the physical, psychological, social and spiritual stress that come with this difficult time in your lives.

Is hospice a place like a hospital or nursing home?

No. Hospice isn’t a place; it’s a philosophy. It’s a type of care that’s provided to you and your family wherever you live, whether it’s in your home or an assisted living nursing facility.

When is it time to talk about hospice?

You and your loved ones should consider hospice as early in your disease as possible – long before you may need the care. Understanding the hospice option gives you more control and choices in your end-of-life care.

Isn’t choosing hospice care like “giving up”?

Not at all. Choosing hospice care simply changes the focus of your care from curing the disease to managing the symptoms. You still have much to hope for and much to look forward to. With good pain and symptom management, information and support, you’re able to concentrate on what’s meaningful to you. Most hospice patients still have plans and goals and see value in every day living.

What if I improve?

Hospice patients can and do improve! If you do, or if you reconsider aggressive or curative treatment, you can sign out of hospice at any time.

Is hospice expensive?

No. In fact, hospice is very cost effective. Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurers have a hospice benefit. Donations from the community and contributions to the Mount Carmel Foundation for Mount Carmel Hospice help assure that hospice care is available to everyone – even those without coverage.

Can hospice provide caregivers around the clock?

Hospice does not provide ongoing 24-hour care. While your hour-to-hour care is your family’s responsibility, hospice nurses are on-call 24 hours a day to answer questions and handle emergencies. Hospice staff make periodic visits throughout the week to provide medical, emotional and spiritual support, and assistance with personal care. If you live alone or need assistance with 24-hour care, you may need to consider a nursing home or other care alternatives to ensure you receive the ongoing care you need.

How does hospice manage pain?

One of the basic goals of hospice is to make you comfortable and pain-free. Hospice nurses are experts in pain and symptom management. They work closely with you, your family and your physician to assure your comfort using medication, counseling and other therapies.

How do I get hospice care?

Talk to your doctor. Ask if he or she would make a hospice referral for you. You also can call Mount Carmel Hospice and we’ll contact your physician to verify that hospice is the right choice for you. Most patients who are appropriate for the program are enrolled within 24 hours of their first call regarding admission.

Can hospice provide my family any assistance after my care comes to an end?

Absolutely. Continuing support is available for your family and friends for at least a year afterward. Mount Carmel Hospice sponsors bereavement support groups for adults and children and for anyone in the community coming to terms with the loss of a loved one.