Hospice FAQ

  1. Who is eligible for hospice care?

    Hospice care is for anyone with a life expectancy prognosis of six months or less. Hospice patients may have cancer, heart disease, lung disease, neurological diseases, dementia, or any other life limiting illness that has reached a terminal stage.

  2. Does hospice care accelerate the dying process?

    Hospice care does not delay nor prolong death. Death occurs naturally, and on a patient’s own terms, but in greater comfort with hospice care. The focus of care is keeping a patient comfortable and allowing them to live out their final days with dignity and without pain.

  3. At what point should a patient start receiving hospice care?

    Hospice care is not just for patients in the last few days of their lives. The sooner hospice care is utilized, the more support it can provide.

  4. Will hospice care be terminated after six months?

    Although patients are eligible for hospice care once they receive a life expectancy prognosis of six months or less, this certainly does not mean the care will end after the initial six months. Hospice care will continue as long as a patient meets ongoing criteria to receive services. If a patient’s condition improves, it is possible to “graduate” from hospice care and be re-admitted at a later time.

  5. Is hospice care covered by insurance?

    Hospice care is fully covered under Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance policies. Donations and community support are a very important piece of the overall funding of hospice care, as they allow community-based providers to provide care to anyone in need, regardless of their insurance or financial situation. If you would like to give to Pathways, please see our Giving page. 

  6. Do patients and family members retain their right to make decisions about care under hospice?

    Yes. Patients and their families are at the center of their care, and they have the ability to direct their care through individualized plans and goals.

  7. Are all hospice providers the same?

    While many hospice providers are Medicare certified and follow the same Medicare guidelines of care, all hospices are independent of each other and have unique philosophies of care. Medicare guidelines provide “high level” direction regarding care, which are interpreted by each individual provider. Decisions around the levels of care, and the services offered are determined by each individual provider and the care from one provider to the next can look very different.

Contact Pathways with further questions

We are here for you at all of life’s most difficult moments. Please complete the contact form with your information and any additional questions, and a qualified member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.