Common Questions

Doctor & Patient

Is hospice care strictly limited to the last 6 months of someone’s life?

Answer: No. Medicare defines hospice as care provided to patients who, due to a terminal illness “have a medical prognosis that his or her life expectancy is 6 months or less if the illness runs its normal course.” However, a medical prognosis is an educated prediction of the course of illness. Physicians cannot predict a lifespan with complete certainty. Therefore, hospice patients may live beyond the initial 6-month prognosis, with Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance coverage going uninterrupted as long as they meet hospice criteria.

Can hospice patients continue to see his/her primary care physician?

Answer: Yes. A hospice patient may continue to see his/her primary care physician, as normal, for both non-related illnesses and the hospice diagnosis (or illness) if the physician agrees. We, at Heart of Hospice, encourage your physician to continue to care for you while you have our service.

Is hospice care only provided to patients with cancer related terminal diagnosis?

Answer: No. In addition to patients with terminal cancer, hospice also cares for those individuals in the end stages of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Stroke, Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Parkinson’s Disease, Failure to Thrive, Dementia, ALS, Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Renal Disease, Liver Disease, and others.

Do hospice patients have to remain homebound?

Answer: No. Unlike home health care, hospice patients may participate in any activity they choose and are not restricted to their home. In fact, hospice encourages patients to get out and enjoy life.

Can hospice patients receive home health care or dialysis while receiving hospice care?

Answer: Hospice will admit a patient under one diagnosis (or illness) and provide pain management and all elements of care related to that specific illness. Therefore, the hospice patient is free to receive care and/or treatment for all other illnesses as normal. That care may include home health. In the case of a dialysis patient, a patient may continue to receive hospice care as long as the dialysis is not related to the hospice admitting diagnosis.

Can a hospice patient go to the hospital?

Answer: A hospice patient always has the right to go to a hospital if he/she chooses. However, our goal at Heart of Hospice is to treat all symptoms directly related to the hospice illness in the home setting. Certainly for symptoms not related to the hospice illness, a hospice patient may go to the hospital for treatment as they normally would.