Frequently Asked Questions

  • What types of conditions might hospice be right for?

    Hospice can benefit those suffering from a disease where their life expectancy is six months or less.

  • How do I initiate hospice care?

    If you think that you or a family member could benefit from hospice services, take the first step and call us today. Please visit our Locations page for a full listing of phone numbers by region.

  • Who's right for hospice?

    Do you or a loved one meet any of the criteria below? If so, hospice services may be right for you.

    • The patient’s condition is life limiting (with life expectancy of six months or less) and the patient and/or family is aware of this determination.
    • The patient and/or family have elected treatment goals directed toward comfort and quality of life (palliative care) rather than cure of the underlying disease (curative care).
    • Hospice care is not limited to cancer patients, but applies to any illness a physician feels limits the patient to a life expectancy of six months or less. Some non-cancerous illnesses may include:
      • Heart disease
      • Pulmonary disease – COPD
      • CVA and coma
      • Dementia/Alzheimer’s
      • Renal failure
      • HIV / AIDS
      • Liver disease
      • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
      • End-state neuromuscular disease
      • Stroke, coma or persistent  vegetative states
  • Is hospice care still provided on a special unit in the hospital?

    Hospice is not a place. It is a comprehensive program of services that comes to you, most of the time in your home. When surveyed, more than 90 percent of Americans said they would prefer to die at home.

  • Is hospice only for patients with cancer?

    Hospice care is for people with life limiting illness regardless of the diagnosis. This includes, but is not limited to, neurologic diseases, heart, kidney and respiratory failure/disease, and end stage dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. It is designed for anyone whose life expectancy is measured in months rather than years.

  • Who pays for hospice care?

    Healthcare payers recognize the importance of hospice care. Medicare, Medicaid and most health insurance companies have a benefit that covers the cost of hospice care. No person will be denied hospice services on the basis of race, color, national origin, handicap, age or inability to pay.

  • How long can I receive hospice care?

    You can receive hospice care as long as your doctor certifies that you have a life-limiting illness of six months or less.

  • Are there any specific equipment or changes I have to make in my home before hospice care begins?

    Hospice personnel will assist you in assessing these needs. Most of the supplies and equipment needed for care are supplied through hospice. In general, hospice will assist in any way it can to make home care as convenient, safe and comfortable as possible.

  • How does hospice manage pain?

    Hospice doctors, pharmacists and nurses are well informed regarding the most effective medications and therapies for pain management. They work with the patient and family in making decisions regarding pain management that are individualized for each patient.

  • Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to a regular treatment regimen?

    If a patient’s condition improves or stabilizes and the disease seems to be in remission, they can be discharged from hospice with a physician approval. Patients may also request discharge if they want to pursue further curative treatment without experiencing any penalty. If the patient should later need hospice services most payment programs are supportive of re-admission.

  • What are advance directives?

    An advance directive allows you to make your decisions about medical care known to your family in the event you are unable to speak for yourself.

Sentara in the Community