Q: What is hospice?
A: Hospice is a philosophy of care that 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: Hospice care can be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. Regional Hospice and Palliative Care will be happy to explore your own personal policy and let you know what will be covered. Learn more about inpatient hospice costs.
Q: Are there different levels of hospice care and how does that affect payment?
A: Yes. The appropriate level of hospice care is determined by the severity (acuity) of a patient’s medical needs. Routine Level of 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 the 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, a level of care that requires acute symptom management and cannot be provided in a home setting, is usually covered fully by most insurance plans. For more on care levels, please see the Inpatient Admissions page.
Q: Is hospice care for cancer patients only?
A: No. Regional Hospice and Palliative Care serves patients with 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. 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 individuals who choose hope, compassion and quality of life as priorities when illness advances. We also care for pediatric patients. In fact, we have an exceptional, certified Pediatric Palliative Care Nurse on staff – one of a select few in Connecticut.
Q: Is hospice a place you go to, like a nursing home or assisted living facility?
A: Not necessarily. Hospice care can be provided wherever you are most comfortable; at home, in a nursing or assisted living facility, or when appropriate, in Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s unique Center for Comfort Care and Healing.
Q: What does hospice care include?
A: Hospice services include skilled nursing visits by a Hospice R.N., nurse’s aide visits by a Certified Nursing Assistant, social work visits by a Licensed Social Worker, Spiritual Care visits, Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy, dietary expertise and volunteer visits. 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 Musical offerings may also be chosen by you and your family.
Q: Is hospice care limited to six months, or can I receive care for a longer time if I need it?
A: Hospice eligibility is evaluated at various intervals throughout the time you are receiving hospice care. As long as the hospice team and your Primary Care Physician agree that you continue to meet the hospice criteria, you will be able to receive care.
Q: If I do choose hospice care, can I change my mind?
A: Absolutely. Patients are free to revoke hospice care at any time with just one signature. More importantly, you can come back onto a Regional Hospice and Palliative Care program at any time as long as you continue to meet the criteria.
Q: Is hospice care focused only on the patient?
A: At Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, our goal is to provide 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 you and your family to spend meaningful time together and will do all we can to help you achieve that important goal.
Q: Can I continue to see my own doctor?
A: Yes. Regional Hospice and Palliative Care works closely with your Primary Care Physician of choice, your family and you to create a customized Individual Plan of Care. We also have our esteemed Medical Director available to oversee care and provide back-up as needed.
Q: I have heard that once I am on hospice it is “the end”, a “last resort”. I also have heard that hospice care stops all medications and expedites death.
A: This is a common misconception. Hospice is a philosophy of 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 actually shows that Hospice Patients Live Longer. More importantly, in hospice care the individual’s quality of life and personal choices are always a primary focus.
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 organization that has been serving Western Connecticut and beyond for over 30 years. Most of our staff hold advanced certifications in hospice and palliative care. Our state-of-the-art Center for Comfort Care and Healing, which opened in February 2015, has changed the face of hospice care in Connecticut and surrounding states. This 12 bed, private suite, homelike center offers an attractive option for those patients who need care that cannot be delivered in a home setting. This Center is unlike any other in the country, and we at Regional Hospice and Palliative Care could not be more proud of it.