Top 10 FAQs about Hospice Care

Caregivers who are part of the Columbus Hospice team.

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There are many misconceptions surrounding hospice care. Columbus Hospice wants to provide some FAQs to help you and your family decide when hospice care is the right care option for your family member.

Hospice care isn’t just for those who are dying. It’s an option for anyone who needs regular pain and symptom management for any serious illness. This can include anyone, no matter their age, culture, beliefs or cause of the illness.

Hospice care doesn’t just happen in a specific care facility. In some instances, hospice care is administered in the home of the sick individual, especially for those needing end-of-life care. Most of the time, people just prefer the comforts of home and the easy visitation from close friends and family members.

Hospice is a choice for patients. Though there are typically hospice guidelines to be considered to be eligible for hospice, patients can choose to leave hospice at any time, without reason.

Medications are managed during hospice care. Patients can usually keep taking their already prescribed medications while on hospice, as long as they don’t interfere with additional medications prescribed for pain management. Doctors who treat hospice patients want to make them as comfortable as possible, without over-medicating.

Family members play an important role in hospice patient care. Unless in a specific facility, family and friends are a hospice patient’s primary caregivers. Trained hospice team members provide additional support, making regular, scheduled visits. Anything of concern from family members should also be expressed to the hospice care member for follow-up.

Hospice care is not defined by a set time-limit. While typically hospice care is for a patient who has less than 6 months to live, according to their doctor, the time can be extended if needed. Many families have noted that they wish they’d known about hospice care sooner. One of our goals, at Columbus Hospice, is making sure all families know the care options available for their loved ones.

Medical supplies can also be provided in hospice care. This can include items like oxygen tanks, hospital beds, bathroom use supplies, bandaging supplies, shower bars and shower chairs.

One of the main roles of hospice is in supporting the family, even after death. Most hospice agencies will provide families with spiritual and emotional support, sometimes for up to a year after their family member passes.

Most hospice patients do not see any out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare Part A can cover up to 100% of all costs, without any co-pays or deductible limits. But, this is not always true for other private insurance companies. Coverage through private providers varies. Please check with your insurance provider for the costs and requirements about hospice eligibility, coverage, and out-of-pocket expenses.

Start your hospice care discussions with your family prior to needing hospice services. As soon as a serious diagnosis is given, it’s a good idea to make an ongoing care plan. Potential hospice patients can ensure that they receive the care they want by having early and continuing discussions about their decisions with family and their doctors.

For more information about hospice care, visit the Columbus Hospice website.

Columbus Hospice of Georgia and Alabama.