Frequently Asked Questions about Hospice and End-of-life Care

Question: Who decides if a patient needs hospice care?

Eligibility for hospice is determined by the patient’s attending physician and the hospice medical director.

Question: Do you know in advance how long a hospice patient will need care?

Hospice physicians exercise their best clinical judgment when determining length of stay; however, at the initial admission to hospice, two physicians have determined that the patient has six months or less to live should the disease continue upon its expected course.

Hospice has certification periods: two 90-day periods and one 30-day period.  The hospice medical director reviews the patient’s status at weekly IDT meetings and must determine that the patient is terminally ill having 6 months or less to live at the end of each certification period.

Question: Do I need to get my doctor to refer me to hospice care or can I call on my own?

Answer: You are welcome to call Treasure Coast Hospice at any time to learn more about how we can help with your care plan. Our staff can explain our services and help you decide if hospice care is the best option for you at this time. We will work with your doctor so that your transition to hospice is a smooth one and all the information that the doctor needs us to have is known to the hospice staff.

Question: What if I am in hospice care and I get better?

Answer: Patients can start to feel better under hospice care because their pain and stress are both relieved. If you start to feel well enough to leave hospice care, we coordinate with your doctor.

Question:  Where do I receive hospice care?

Answer: Most of our patients receive end-of-life care at home or wherever they call home, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Question: What if things get to the point where I can’t stay at home to receive care?

Answer: The social workers at Treasure Coast Hospice work with you and your family throughout your care to assist you in finding the best arrangements. If your treatment demands it at a point in your care, we welcome you to one of our three hospice houses/Inpatient Units for round-the-clock end-of-life care.

Question: How do I pay for hospice care?

Answer: Hospice care is covered by most insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. As a not-for-profit hospice, we care for anyone who wants and needs our services, regardless of ability to pay.

Question: If my husband wasn’t in hospice care when he died, can I still go to grief counseling?

Answer: Yes. Treasure Coast Hospice’s Grief Support services are available to anyone who has experienced a loss, whether the loved one was in our care at the time or not.

Question: You talk a lot about “advance care planning” and I want to do it.  Is there a cost? How do I start?

Answer: Treasure Coast Hospice invites you to call us to learn more about advance care planning and “Five Wishes®” – an easy-to-use template written in simple language that helps you plan and communicate how you want to be cared for if you become seriously ill. It helps you express your desires in personal, spiritual, medical and legal matters and meets the legal requirements for an advance directive in 42 states, including Florida.



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Five Wishes ®

“Five Wishes ®” is an easy-to-use legal document written in everyday language to help you plan how you want to be cared for in case you become seriously ill. It is America’s most popular living will.

You decide: With more than 18 million copies in circulation, “Five Wishes ®” helps you express what you want in the areas that matter the most to you: personal, spiritual, medical and legal. It helps you describe what good care means to you, whether you are seriously ill or not, so your caregiver knows exactly what you want.

Gift to your family: “Five Wishes ®” can help start and guide family conversations in advance of serious illness, so completing it is a gift to your family, friends and also your doctor. It keeps them out of the difficult position of having to guess what kinds of treatment you want or don’t want.

Meets Florida law: “Five Wishes ®” meets the legal requirements for an advance directive in Florida and 41 other states. All you need to do is check a box, circle a direction, or write a few sentences. Once it is signed and witnessed, your “Five Wishes ®” becomes a legal document.

To learn more about “Five Wishes ®”or to schedule a presentation for your group or community, please email info@treasurehealth.org