Frequently Asked Questions
How does someone start receiving hospice care?
- Patients of any age, with a terminal illness are eligible to receive hospice services. The patient's doctor and the hospice medical director must certify the patient's condition is terminal, indicate a six month or less life expectancy if the illness runs it's normal course and that the goal of care is comfort rather than cure.
How do I get medical coverage for hospice care?
- Medicare Hospice Benefit under Part A covers hospice completely. This includes all visits made by our hospice team, any equipment needed for comfort at home, and medications related to the terminal diagnosis.
- Private insurance and Medicaid also cover hospice service, usually in the same way as Medicare. We provide care regardless of ability to pay. Our staff will help the patient and family identify financial resources for payment.
What locations will you travel to see hospice patients?
- Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health System hospice programs see patients in central, northwestern and southwestern Wisconsin, southern and central Minnesota and northern Iowa.
When is it appropriate to consider hospice care?
- At any time during a terminal illness, it is appropriate to discuss all of a patient's care options, including hospice. Discussions that change the focus of care from curative to comfort can be difficult. While hospice does not provide a cure, it does provide an option for an individual that focuses on comfort and quality of life. Hospice staff members are available to discuss these concerns with the patient, family and doctor.
How difficult is caring for a dying family member at home?
- The role of a caregiver is challenging, yet, hospice can offer support in this often unfamiliar role. Hospice provides caregivers with the education and skills necessary to allow loved ones to die comfortably and at peace.
- We make it possible for patients to enjoy the comforts of home by supporting and empowering families to become the best caregivers in the management of the patient's physical symptoms, provision of day-to-day care and the administration of medications.
- Care may involve more than meeting the physical needs of the patient. A terminal illness can affect emotions, relationships, finances and spiritual strength. Hospice addresses these aspects of a terminal illness when appropriate.
What specific assistance does hospice provide?
- Team members offer a full continuum of hospice care to support patients in whatever stage of illness they face. Services may include:
- Personal nurse case manager
- On-call nursing service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Pain and symptom management
- Social work
- Spiritual care services
- Therapist (physical, occupational and speech therapy)
- Nutritional assessments
- Medical equipment, supplies and medications
- Respite care health care
- In-hospital care (as needed)
- Bereavement and grief counseling support
Is a home the only place hospice can be delivered?
- Hospice is primarily provided in the home, whether home is a person's house, an intermediate care, assisted living or long-term care facility.
- Our staff is concerned about the caregiver as well as the patient. We are aware caregivers need periodic relief. Trained volunteers are available to visit the patient on a regular basis or as needed. If the caregiver needs a more extended period of relief, hospice can arrange short-term respite care.
- If the patient requires hospital care for the management of symptoms or admission to a nursing home, hospice coordinates these transitions on behalf of the patient and family. In most cases, hospice continues uninterrupted from one setting to another.