About Hospice Care

Hospice care is for people who have a life-limiting illness due to a terminal prognosis and a life expectancy of six months or less.  Patients choose hospice when a cure is not possible or when aggressive treatment to prolong life is no longer desired.

The goal of hospice care is to help patients live as long as possible, allowing them to direct their care based on patient goals.  Focusing on comfort and symptom management, hospice provides:

  • Nursing  with visits from an RN or LPN in the patient's residence
  • Social Services to provide emotional support and to assist with resources
  • Certified Nursing Assistant providing assistance with bathing and activities of daily living
  • Spiritual care with chaplains
  • Volunteer services to provide patient and family support
  • 24 hour on-call support for emergencies
  • Respite care for caregivers
  • Inpatient care for medical crisis unable to be resolved in the home
  • Medications associated with the terminal and related illnesses
  • Medical equipment (hospital bed, walker, wheelchair, oxygen, etc.)
  • Hospice also provides diapers and other supplies related to the illness

Who Pays for Hospice

Hospice care is covered 100% by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans.  Check with your plan to see if hospice coverage is available. 

How to Receive Hospice Care

Hospice care begins with an order from your doctor for an evaluation for hospice services. A hospice representative typically provides education about hospice care and with the patient's consent, evaluates the patient for hospice care.

Hospice provides care for all end-stage diseases including the primary hospice diagnoses:

  • Cancer
  • ALS
  • Dementia / Alzheimer And Related Disorders
  • End Stage Heart Disease
  • HIV
  • Liver Disease
  • Pulmonary Disease
  • Renal Disease
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Stroke / Coma

Is Hospice Giving Up?

Hospice is about hope, but hope does change as illnesses progress.  Hospice is about helping the patients live as well as possible in their last days by listening to the patient goals and what is important to them and to their loved ones. Even though an illness may be terminal, there is much that can be done by managing pain and symptoms and hospice focuses on how to help patients and their loved ones with the medical, emotional and spiritual support to help making the remaining days meaningful and keep the patient comfortable.

How to Find Out If You or Loved one Qualifies for Hospice Care

  • Talk with your physician about your disease and your life expectancy. 
  • Express your desire to be cared for at home to reduce hospital and emergency room trips. 
  • Discuss your goals how you want to spend your last days
  • Ask for a referral to an Alabama Hospice Organization provider