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Hospice FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Hospice

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 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 their ability to pay.

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

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