Answers to Common Questions

  • Will I have my own hospice team and how often will they visit?
  • Every person receiving hospice has access to a medical director, registered nurse, social worker, hospice aide, chaplain, and volunteer (also known as the interdisciplinary group). For each patient and family, the interdisciplinary group writes a care plan with the patient/family that is used to make sure the patient and family receive the care they need. Visits are based on the patient and family needs as described in the care plan and the condition of the person during the course of illness.
  • Is hospice available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
  • Hospice care is available on call after the administrative office has closed, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Hospice has nurses available to respond to a call for help within minutes, if necessary.
  • What does a hospice volunteer do?
  • Hospice volunteers are generally available to provide different types of support to individuals and their loved ones including running errands, preparing light meals, staying with a patient to give loved ones a break, and lending emotional support and companionship to individuals and loved ones.
  • What happens if I can't be cared for at home?
  • A growing number of hospice programs have their own hospice facilities or have arrangements with nursing homes, hospitals or inpatient residential centers to care for patients who cannot be cared for at home. These services may or may not be covered under your insurance benefit.
  • Can I be cared for by hospice if I reside in a nursing facility or other type of long-term care facility?
  • Hospice services can be provided to a person who has a life-limiting illness wherever they live. This means a person living in a nursing facility or long-term care facility can receive specialized visits from hospice nurses, hospice aides, chaplains, social workers, and volunteers, in addition to other care and services provided by the nursing facility. The hospice and the nursing home will have a written agreement in place in order for the hospice to serve residents of the facility.
  • Do state and federal reviewers inspect and evaluate hospices?
  • Yes. There are state licensure requirements that must be met by hospice programs in order for them to deliver care. In addition, hospices must comply with federal regulations in order to be approved for reimbursement under Medicare. Hospices must periodically undergo inspection to be sure they are meeting regulatory standards in order to maintain their license to operate and the certification that permits Medicare reimbursement.
  • Comfort Care Makes a Difference: A Guide for Hospice Services
  • Recommended Books:
    Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley
    Dying Well and Four Things That Matter Most, both by Ira Byock
    Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather's Blessings, both by Rachel Naomi Remen
    How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Peter McWilliams

    Compassion Books is an excellent source for books on death and dying, grief and recovery from loss. or call 1-800-970-4220.

    Online Resources - Large online resource with both links and book lists. - Many articles on end of life care and grief. - A site by the National Hospice and Palliative care Organization. - Source of the excellent “Five Wishes” living will. - for more links, books and information.