What is hospice?

Hospice is not a place. Hospice is a compassionate method of caring for terminally ill with a focus on living. Hospice professionals come to you wherever you reside, whether at home, in a skilled nursing facility, private care home, assisted living, or independent living apartment. Hospice is a medically directed, interdisciplinary team-managed program of services that focuses on the patient/family as the unit of care. Hospice care is palliative rather than curative, with an emphasis on pain and symptom control, so that a person may live the last days of life fully, with dignity and comfort, at home or in a home like setting.

When is the right time to ask about hospice?

Now is the best time to learn more about hospice and ask questions about what to expect from hospice services.  Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it is best for family members to share their wishes long before it becomes a concern.  This can greatly reduce stress when the time for hospice is needed.  By having these discussions in advance, patients are not forced into uncomfortable situations.  Instead, patients can make an educated decision that includes the advice and input of family members and loved ones.

How does hospice care begin?

Typically, hospice care starts as soon as a formal request or a ‘referral’ is made by the patient, family or physician. Our office will contact the patient’s physician for a referral order and to obtain pertinent medical records. Once the referral is received, a Summit Hospice representative will proceed with contacting the patient or primary care giver to arrange an appointment for an evaluation and discussion of care.

Is hospice available after hours?

Summit Hospice  is available ‘on-call’ after the administrative office has closed, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.  We have nurses available by phone after hours that can make visits as necessary.  Our medical director is available after hours for patient needs.

Who pays for hospice?

Hospice coverage is provided by Medicare, Medicaid and by most private health insurance policies with little to no out of pocket expense. Medicare and/or Medicaid are the most frequent sources of payment. To be sure of coverage families should, of course, check with their health insurance provider.

What happens if I change my mind about hospice?

A patient may elect to be discharged from hospice at any time. In addition, if a patient’s condition improves to the point that they no longer need hospice, they will be discharged.


For any of your hospice care questions, contact Summit Hospice today.