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 Health 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: Can you tell me in simple words what “palliative care” is?
Answer: Very simply, palliative care is comfort care. You may have pain because of a serious or chronic illness. You know that you will feel better without the pain while you continue to get medical treatment for your illness. Our staff of pain-management specialists helps with the medical side of your care, and we also help you with emotional and spiritual needs at this time in your life.
Question: Can I continue to receive curative treatments and medical tests if I use your palliative care services?
Answer: Yes. In fact, palliative care is comfort care, provided by pain management specialists, designed to help you feel better while you are fighting your disease or chronic illness. The decision about how much care and how many tests rests with you and your doctor.
Question: Where do I receive hospice care?
Answer: Most of our patients receive care at home or wherever they call home, including assisted and senior 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 Health 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 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 Health 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 Health 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.
Question: Can you explain again how Treasure Coast Hospice and Treasure Health are related?
Answer: Treasure Coast Hospice, along with Palliative Care, Pediatric Care, and Grief Support, are all part of the Treasure Health family. Treasure Health is a community-based non-profit, just as Treasure Coast Hospice has been throughout its 35 years of service to Martin and St. Lucie counties. Treasure Health is more than hospice services; it’s an organization that offers a range of services to individuals facing serious or chronic health issues so that they can make their own choices about how much care they want, when and where. Treasure Health is dedicated to offering individuals an opportunity to make their own plans and direct their own care in keeping with their values and wishes throughout their life.