Why choose hospice early - watch Janet Hill's story.
"I couldn't have made it through my wife's illness without them." B. Cabaniss, Kenbridge, VA
We Honor Veterans (watch video)
Watch "Except for Six" a documentary on ending life well
Watch Dot Flanick's story
Join our team

Hospice Care

Centra Health

Hospice Care

Choosing hospice does not mean giving up hope.  Hospice is specialized care that offers help and support to patients and families when cure is no longer possible.   It is a change of focus to comfort, control of symptoms and quality of life and is designed to help during the last months of life.   Many people say that they wish they had learned earlier that hospice is NOT a crisis service for the last few days of life so that their family could have taken full advantage of the services. 

We serve patients in their homes, assisted living, nursing facilities, hospitals and Centra Bedford Hospice House.  It may not be easy to know when the time is right to consider hospice.  Ask us so we can help you with eligibility and answer your questions.     

Contact us

View our brochure

Why choose us?

Not all hospices are alike.  We are locally owned,  not-for-profit and have served the community for over 35 years.  Our expert team includes a full time medical director, physicians. nurse practitioners, nurses, aides, social workers/counselors and chaplains.  We are proud to be a Hospice Honors Recipient, an annual honor recognizing the hospices that continuously provide the highest level of quality as measured from the caregiver’s point of view.  Award criteria were based on Hospice CAHPS survey results from patient families compared on question-by-question basis to a national average score. 

Centra Hospice is a member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association, a member of the Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice, and certified by the Joint Commission, Medicare and Medicaid. Centra Hospice was founded in 1983 (as Hospice of the Hills) and was one of the first in Virginia.

 National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization website

For detailed information about our services/programs and frequently asked questions, please click on one of the information tabs below:

Services We Provide/Coverage Area

Services We Provide/Coverage Area
Services We Provide/Coverage Area

Services We Provide:

  • Dedicated, full-time medical director, physicians and nurse practitioners 
  • Regular visits by hospice nurses and aides for personal care
  • 24/7 access to on-call nurses 
  • Medications/expert pain management and symptom control 
  • Medical supplies/equipment such as hospital beds and wheelchairs

  • Short-term inpatient and respite care as needed
  • Social work services
  • Hospice House (Bedford)  provides residential, supportive care in a home-like environment
  • Chaplain services
  • Bereavement services for up  to one year, support groups (open to community)
  • Volunteers to assist families  
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech/language services
  • Complementary pet therapy (not available in all areas)

Who pays for hospice?

Hospice is a benefit paid for through Medicare, Medicaid, and most commercial insurances. Centra Hospice will help to determine coverage available and no one is turned away because of an inability to pay.  

To see our service area map, click below:
Service Area Map

Common Hospice Diagnoses

Common Hospice Diagnoses
Common Hospice Diagnoses
Common hospice diagnoses include:
  • Congestive heart failure/heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Liver or kidney disease
  •  Cancer
  • Stroke
  • ALS 
  • HIV
  • Alzheimer's disease/dementia
  • General decline  
Symptoms which may indicate you or a loved one is ready for hospice care include:
  • Chronic multiple diseases
  • Decreased appetite/weight loss
  • Dependence in most activities of daily living
  • Multiple Emergency Room visits
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sleeping more
  • Frequent falls
  • Physical decline

Why Choose Hospice Early?

Why Choose Hospice Early?
Why Choose Hospice Early?

Benefits of Earlier Admission

Most patients are eligible for hospice care when their physician advises they have a terminal illness  and the prognosis is that the patient will have six months or less to live.

Hospice care should not be a crisis service for just the last few days of life.  It is a program designed to care for the patient and family during the last months of life. 

An early hospice admission allows both patient and family to receive the full benefit of hospice services. Additionally, when pain and other symptoms are effectively controlled, people not only feel better, they have a potential to live longer.  The benefits of choosing hospice early include:

For the Patient
  • Effective medication, pain and symptom management resulting in less discomfort and fewer emergency hospitalizations
  • Earlier intervention may decrease stress levels, and have a positive impact on the quality of life
  • Complementary therapies such as music and massage 
  • A reduction in unnecessary and frequent re-admission to the hospital/ER visits
  • A reduction in stress of traveling back and forth to the hospital or physician offices
  • Help with focus and developing personal goals 
  • Preparation and coordination of advanced directives
  • Full emotional, psychological and spiritual support

For the Patient and Family
  • Control and support in an overwhelming situation
  • Achieving peace with the pending death
  • Providing an opportunity for closure and saying good-bye with everyone  together
  • Becoming knowledgeable and comfortable with the dying process
  • Receiving expert assistance and time to prepare for funeral and financial matters
  • Saving on expenses  of medication, equipment and supplies related to the terminal diagnosis

For the Family
  • Education to improve the quality of life of their loved one
  • Participating in the care of the patient, connection to an experienced care team during the loved one’s final months 
  • Developing an earlier relationship with the hospice bereavement team
  • Opportunity to be with the loved one in a more comfortable state during a difficult time

Early Admission to hospice allows patients and families to build longer relationships and improve overall care for the body, mind and spirit.  In satisfaction surveys, more than 60% of patients and caregivers said they would have liked to have been better informed about the option to choose hospice earlier.


Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

What is hospice? 

Hospice is a specialized program that offers help, comfort and support for people with serious illnesses and their families. Hospice is about living as fully and completely as possible by  assisting patients  and families with their medical, emotional and spiritual needs.

How does my family get help from hospice? 

Anyone can call Centra Hospice for information or to get help.   We can help identify the needs, consult with the patient’s physician if needed  to approve the need for hospice care. We are also available to meet with you and your family to discuss your needs, answer questions and help you understand what to expect.

How do I know when it's time for hospice? 

Hospice is for anyone living with any type of life-limiting illness for people of all ages who are not seeking aggressive, curative treatment. Hospice is help, support and assistance to patients and families. We realize that it is a difficult decision for many. However, hospice is not a final choice or decision. Knowing when the "right" time to discuss hospice care is often challenging for patients and their loved ones.  It may be surprising to learn that many healthcare providers struggle with knowing when the the time is right for a family to hear the suggestion.  Patients are free to leave the program at any time if they choose.  Also, some patients improve while on hospice to a level where discharge  may be appropriate.  Individuals and family members can contact hospice directly to find out when hospice care may be appropriate.  

Does choosing hospice mean giving up hope?  Does choosing hospice mean death will come sooner?

Having hospice care means that you get specialized care provided by professionals experienced with the special needs of patients and families dealing with illnesses and diseases where a cure is unlikely to occur.  It does not mean giving up hope.  It is assuring that your loved one will have the best possible outcome with comfort, dignity and pain controlled. Talking about hospice and talking about dying does not make death happen sooner or later.  Research does show that patients in hospice care actually live longer than patients with similar conditions not receiving hospice care.

What type of care is provided? 

A team of specialists - physicians, registered nurses, hospice aides, social workers, volunteers, chaplains and grief counselors - coordinate an individual plan of care with the patient, the family and the patient's physician to meet the patient and family goals. Visits are made by these professionals to ensure the patient's needs are being met. Medications, supplies and equipment that promote comfort are also provided at no cost to the patient. Hospice staff is on duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week to provide care, respond to emergencies, answer questions and offer support.

Where can we receive hospice care? 

Hospice care is provided in all settings, including the patient's home, hospitals, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, at our hospice house, and inpatient unit at Virginia Baptist Hospital.

How is hospice paid for? 

Hospice is a program that is paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance programs. However, if a patient is unable to pay for care, Centra Hospice will  provide services regardless of ability to pay.

Is it true that all treatment stops if a person is on hospice? 

No. Patients on hospice may receive medications, treatments, IVs and can even be hospitalized depending on the patient's wishes and the hospice plan of care.


10 Myths About Hospice Care

10 Myths About Hospice Care
10 Myths About Hospice Care
What are the common misconceptions about hospice care?  Click below.

 Myths of hospice discussion on Living in the Heart of Virginia

10 Myths of Hospice

Spiritual Care

Spiritual Care
Spiritual Care

What is spiritual care? 

Hearing that you or a loved one has a terminal illness is challenging news to reconcile and presents many questions.  It can also present opportunities to connect with family and friends, spend time reflecting on goals,  accomplishments and even disappointments.  Our hospice chaplains are available to assist you by offering support, a listening ear and providing clarity during a difficult time.  

Spirituality might be described as that which gives meaning to life.  Spirituality may or may not involve religious beliefs and practices, and is more about the human needs such as  love, hope, nurturing, dignity and value .   

How can a chaplain help you?

Our chaplains are part of the hospice interdisciplinary team and can be a calming presence for you and your loved ones as you make important decisions.  Contemplation of life can help someone establish a legacy,  how a person would like to be remembered or how they might choose to live in the future.    Chaplains can also be an honoring and caring presence for individuals who are  unable to verbally express what they are feeling.  

Chaplains are available to:

  • Be a pastoral presence and provide support to the patient and family as they deal with a terminal diagnosis.
  • Counsel patients as they grieve their loss.  
  • Provide support to caregivers as they face the stresses of caring for a loved one and grieve their loss.
  • Administer religious sacraments, pray with patients and families and read scripture.
  • Contact patient's faith community to work with the congregation and clergy to provide spiritual support to the patient and family.  
  • Provide bereavement ministry to families at the time of death of their loved one, including funeral services and memorial services.
  • Provide after-care ministry to families as needed.   

Examples of spiritual issues you might want to discuss with a chaplain:

  • Alienation from God
  • Separation from faith community
  • Anxiety, fear
  • Abandonment by God or others
  • Depression
  • Guilt, need to forgive
  • Loneliness, isolation
  • Questions about suffering, illness and faith
  • Family concerns
  • Lack of self-worth/self esteem
  • Anger
  • Unfinished business




Due to COVID19 and the success of our virtual series, we will continue to meet virtually in 2022 - see below for schedule. Please contact hospicebereavementcounselors@centrahealth.com or call 434.200.3204 to register or request more information.  

The Experience of Loss (See below for support group schedule.)

The grieving process one experiences after a loss is much like an uncharted journey.  At times it seems like smooth sailing and at other times our sense of well-being is rocked and tossed about as waves of intense emotion come from nowhere and feel like they will overwhelm us.  While each journey is unique,  there are some common experiences that grieving persons  share.  It is comforting to know that you are not alone if you are experiencing:

  • Change in sleep and/or appetite patterns 
  • Decreased energy
  • Anxiousness
  • Difficulty concentrating/making decisions
  • Forgetfulness
  • The feeling of being in a fog
  • Heightened sensitivity
  • A desire to cocoon immediately following the death
  • Guilt
  • Relief
  • Would have, should have, could have, what if?
  • Why, why now, why this way?
  • Questioning the meaning of life

Grieving persons frequently comment, "I never knew I could hurt this much.  I didn't know the pain could be so great.  If you are grieving, know that the pain you are feeling is a reflection of the connection and love you enjoyed with that person, and it is a reflection of the process you are struggling with as you recreate how that relationship will be experienced without physical presence of the person in your life. 

We offer:  

  • Regularly scheduled memorial services 
  • Grief Support Groups (FREE & open to the public) 
  • Individual counseling (for family members of Centra Hospice patients)
  • Community educational programs (FREE & open to the public)

2022 Support Group Schedule (all meetings virtual until further notice)

Self Care Tips - Ideas to Help you Through the Grief Process

  • Talk to trusted friends
  • Join a support group
  • Listen to music
  • Engage in art projects
  • Prayer or meditation
  • Keep a journal or write letters to your loved on
  • Do not give yourself a hard time if the symptoms are not going away fast enough.
  • Find ways to minimize the stressors in your life Bereavement Services Brochure

Bereavement Services Brochure


Advance Medical Directives

Advance Medical Directives
Advance Medical Directives

Advance care planning involves learning about the types of medical decisions that you might need to make, considering those decisions ahead of time, and then letting your friends and loved ones know about your preferences by having "The Talk."  You can then put your preferences into writing in a document know as an Advance Directive.  

Remember, advance care planning is not just for older people.  A medical crisis can happen at any time.  Even in moments of wellness in our lives, making healthcare plans for the future is an important step toward making sure you get the medical care YOU would want.  

The Have You Had the Talk™ Campaign urges all adults to consider what
kind of care and plans they want followed if they ever need to rely on
someone else for their medical care and decision making. The best time
to plan and prepare is when there is no emergency, no crisis, no

* Clarify your wishes 
* Organize your paperwork, 
* Have the Talk with the people you love

If you become ill, does your spouse or your adult child know who your doctors
are? Do they know the names of the prescriptions you take, what you
take them for and the correct dosage? Do you think they know your
health status?  

If you would like to download the Have You Had the Talk booklet, which contains helpful information and the approved State of Virginia Advance Directive form, please click the link below.


We Honor Veterans

We Honor Veterans
We Honor Veterans


It may surprise many people to learn that 25 percent of those who die every year in the U.S. are Veterans.  To help provide care and support that reflect the important contributions made by these men and women, Centra Hospice is a national partner of We Honor Veterans, a pioneering campaign developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

As a We Honor Veterans Partner, Centra Hospice provides ongoing Veteran-centered education for their staff and volunteers to help improve the care they provide to the Veterans they proudly serve.  The nation is seeing many of the Veterans who served in World War II and Korea pass away–and the number of deaths of Vietnam Veterans is beginning to rise. 

By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s Veterans who are facing a life-limiting illness, we are able to accompany and guide Veterans and their families toward a more peaceful ending.  And in cases where there might be some specific needs related to the Veteran’s military service, combat experience or other traumatic events, we will find tools to help support those they are caring for. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs shares a common goal with our nation’s hospices, and that is to provide the best possible care specifically tailored for Veterans, meeting their goals of care in their preferred setting.  As we focus on working together to unite our services and skills, We Honor Veterans will channel our combined strengths directly to Veterans wherever they are receiving care. 

The resources of We Honor Veterans focus on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgement.  America’s Veterans have proudly served their country.  It is time we step up and fulfill our mission of serving these men and women with the level of dignity they deserve. 

Click here to watch "We Honor Veterans" introductory video

Become a vet-to vet volunteer - click here to view brochure

Make a Donation in Honor or Memory of

Make a Donation in Honor or Memory of
Make a Donation in Honor or Memory of

Centra Hospice is supported by the Centra Foundation.  Gifts may be made to Centra Hospice through the Foundation which supports Hospice in many ways such as providing care regardless of the patient's ability to pay.  

Make a Donation

Become a Volunteer

Become a Volunteer
Become a Volunteer

Share Your Gifts . . . Make a Difference

As a member of the hospice team, our volunteers play a significant role in the care provided to patients and their family members. Volunteering for Centra Hospice offers an opportunity to be of service to others at a critical time of life.

Hospice volunteers come from a variety of careers and backgrounds.  Having an interest and willingness to understand the hospice philosophy of care is a good place to begin.  No prior experience is necessary and all volunteers receive eight hours of classroom training to prepare for the numerous opportunities available:   

  • Patient or caregiver companion volunteers
  • Deliveries
  • Special event volunteers
  • Administrative/office support
  • Bereavement volunteers
  • Vet-to-vet volunteers
  • Junior volunteers

Volunteering offers a great deal of flexibility and a variety of options.  Whether you have a few hours a week or a few hours a month, you can make a difference.

For more information on volunteering or training dates, please contact:
Lynchburg Angie Fleming 434.200.3093 angie.fleming@centrahealth.com
Bedford Quintasia Baker, MPH 540.425.7682 quintasia.baker@centrahealth.com
Farmville Anita Lowe, BSW 434.200.7317 anita.lowe@centrahealth.com
Manager, Volunteer Services Anita Lowe, BSW 434.200.7317 anita.lowe@centrahealth.com

Volunteer brochure

Become a vet-to-vet volunteer

Volunteer application 



Anyone can make the first call to Centra Hospice.   It may be you, a family member, a good friend or a member of the clergy. The call does not have to come from your physician or a health care provider. To make a referral, call 434.200.3204 and talk with one of our hospice team members for more information about hospice and how we can help. 

For Physicians

Centra Hospice has a highly qualified and experienced Medical Director, Pat Pletke, MD along with physicians, Debora Sobelman, MD, Brenda Stokes, MD and Linda Beahm, MD.  We also have registered nurse practitioners, registered hospice nurses, social workers and chaplains who can provide education and input into a plan of care. Our admissions team will coordinate and can arrange a visit with the patient and family.  

 Quick Referral Guide