Water in a pond

What is Hospice?

Hospice is end-of-life care for individuals diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and a life expectancy of six months or less who have opted for comfort care. The hospice philosophy is that everyone has the right to die pain-free with dignity and that our loved ones will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.

Other important Facts about hospice:

  • Hospice focuses on caring, not curing.
  • Hospice care is provided in freestanding hospice centers, hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and in the patient's home.
  • Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness.
  • Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations.

When should a decision about hospice care be made, and who should make it?

Anytime during a life-limiting illness, it's appropriate to discuss all of a patient's care options, including hospice. By law, the decision belongs to the patient.

Should I wait for our doctor to raise the possibility of hospice?

You should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with your doctor, other healthcare professionals, clergy and friends.

Hospice care is most beneficial when referrals are made as early as possible to allow ample time for symptom and pain management and the development of trusting relationships between patient, family and the hospice team.

We encourage you to begin conversations with doctor and family members now regarding your end-of-life wishes, including advance healthcare planning.

Most people are uncomfortable with the idea of stopping all efforts to cure their illness. It is courageous to fight terminal illness, and it is equally courageous to know when to discontinue treatment that is no longer helpful. Our hospice team is highly sensitive to these concerns and always available to discuss these difficult decisions and other issues with patients and families.

May a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?

Certainly. If the patient's condition improves and the disease seems to be in remission, the patient can be discharged from hospice and return to regular medical treatment.

Is hospice care covered by insurance?

Yes. Hospice care is covered by most insurance and Medicare covers hospice care nationwide. Medicaid covers hospice care in most states. Most private health insurance policies also cover hospice care although room and board for inpatient care is not usually covered by insurance. Families should check with their health insurance provider or call Alegent Health Hospice at 402-898-8000 to verify coverage.

May I be cared for by Alegent Hospice if I reside in a nursing facility or other type of long-term care facility?

Absolutely. Alegent Hospice services can be provided to a patient wherever they live. This means a patient living in a skilled nursing facility or long-term care facility can receive specialized visits from hospice nurses, home health aides, chaplains, social workers and volunteers, in addition to other care and services provided by the nursing facility. Additionally, Alegent Health Hospice is a preferred not-for-profit hospice provider with privileges at The Josie Harper Residence Hospice House located at 7415 Cedar Street in Omaha. 

Don't see your question answered above?

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