Q: What is hospice?
A: Hospice care focuses on providing high quality, professional health care to patients with a life-limiting medical condition and a life expectancy of six months or less. Above all, hospice care represents hope for compassionate care delivered with dignity and respect for each individual’s unique needs.
Q: Is hospice care expensive?
A: The costs of hospice care vary by patient circumstances. They can be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. We are happy to assist you in determining the costs for your loved one’s care. Please call us at 203.702.7400 for personal assistance, or visit the Inpatient Costs page for general information on inpatient hospice services.
Q: Are there different levels of hospice care and how does that affect payment?
A: Yes. The level of hospice care required is determined by the specific needs of the patient. Routine Hospice Care can be provided at a patient’s home or in a nursing or assisted living facility. This level of care may include nurses, aides, social work, spiritual, therapy, medical equipment and related medications. When routine level of care is provided at Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s Center for Comfort Care and Healing, there is a room and board charge of $495 per day. General Inpatient Level of Care is a level of care that requires acute symptom management and cannot be provided in a home setting. It is usually covered in full by most insurance plans. For more information on levels of care, please see the Admission Procedures and Inpatient Hospice Costs page.
Q: Is hospice care only for patients with cancer?
A: No. Patients served by Regional Hospice and Palliative Care have a variety of medical diagnoses including cardiac and lung diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), neurological diseases such as ALS, and many others in addition to cancer. Our expert staff are experienced in caring for all life-limiting illnesses.
Q: Is hospice care only for the elderly?
A: No. At Regional Hospice and Palliative Care we care for people of any age. While most of our patients are over 65, we also care for many young and middle-aged adults who choose hope, compassion and quality of life when facing advancing illness. We also care for pediatric patients. Our experienced staff includes a certified Pediatric Palliative Care Nurse, one of only a few in the state of Connecticut.
Q: Is hospice a place you go to, like a nursing home or assisted living facility?
A: It can be. However, since hospice care is individualized according to a patient’s needs, it can be provided wherever the patient is most comfortable – at home, in a nursing or assisted living facility, or when appropriate, in Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s unique, inpatient facility, the Center for Comfort Care and Healing.
Q: What does hospice care include?
A: Hospice care services can include skilled visits from health care providers including a Hospice R.N., a Certified Nursing Assistant, a Licensed Social Worker, a Spiritual Care Counselor, Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists, a Dietitian and trained volunteers. Additionally, hospice care includes medication oversight for symptom management and 24-hour, on-call nursing availability. Complementary (Integrative) therapies such as Massage Therapy, Reiki, Guided Meditation and Music may also be utilized by the patient and their caregivers.
Q: Is hospice care limited to six months, or can a patient receive care for a longer time if needed?
A: Hospice eligibility is evaluated at various intervals throughout the time the patient receives hospice care. As long as the hospice team and the patient’s primary physician agree that the patient continues to meet the hospice criteria, he/she will be able to receive care.
Q: If we choose hospice care, can we change our minds?
A: Definitely. Patients and their appointed caregivers are free to revoke hospice care at any time. The patient can also come back onto a Regional Hospice and Palliative Care program at any time as long as they continue to meet the criteria.
Q: Is Hospice Care focused only on the patient?
A: No. Regional Hospice and Palliative Care also provides support to family, friends and caregivers. We offer 24-hour nurse availability, respite services, family support volunteers, psychosocial and spiritual counseling, and the teaching and guidance caregivers need to feel confident in this most challenging role. We want patients and their family members/friends to spend meaningful time together and will do all we can to help make that happen.
Q: Can the patient continue to see their own doctor?
A: Yes. Regional Hospice and Palliative Care works closely with the patient, their Primary Care Physician of choice, and their family/caregivers to customize an Individual Plan of Care. We also have our knowledgeable Medical Director available to oversee care and provide back-up as needed.
Q: I have heard that once a patient is on hospice it is “the end”, a “last resort”. I have also heard that hospice care stops all medications and expedites death.
A: Those myths are fortunately not true. Hospice offers comfort, expert management of distressing symptoms, and attention to the dignity and needs of the entire person and their loved ones as their illness progresses. Research has even demonstrated that Hospice patients may live longer.
Q: Why choose Regional Hospice and Palliative Care?
A: Our hospice agency is unique in that we focus exclusively on hospice and palliative care. We are an experienced nonprofit that has been in the Danbury, Connecticut community for over 30 years. Most of our staff hold advanced certifications in hospice and palliative care. Our beautiful inpatient hospice facility, the Center for Comfort Care and Healing, has changed the face of hospice care in Connecticut and nearby states including New York and Massachusetts. This home-like center has 12 private suites, providing a peaceful alternative for patients who need care that can’t be delivered in a home setting. The Center is unlike any other in the country, and we at Regional Hospice and Palliative Care could not be prouder of the exceptional quality of hospice care it enables us to provide to our patients and their families.