By the Bay Health

Hospice Care FAQs

Is hospice only for the sick family member?

  • No. Our Hospice Care team helps all family members and caregivers cope emotionally during this difficult time, while providing the education they may need to best care for the patient. By The Bay Health also offers grief counseling support before and after a loved one’s death.

Isn’t hospice only for the last few days of life?

  • No. Patients may receive care once their physician and the hospice physician determine that their illness is terminal, with an estimated life expectancy of six months or less. Medicare allows hospice to provide care for terminally ill patients, as long as certain medical eligibility criteria continue to be met, and the patient still wishes to receive hospice care.

Can I keep my own doctor on hospice?

  • Yes. By the Bay Health establishes working relationships with a large base of referring physicians so that patients can keep their own doctors even after admission to Hospice Care.

Does hospice provide 24-hour, around-the-clock care?

  • No. Hospice Care is provided through scheduled visits from members of the Hospice Care Team, with a nurse available by phone 24/7. If needed, hospice can help the family arrange for an around-the-clock, private duty care attendant.

Where does hospice care take place? Do I have to leave my home?

  • Most Hospice Care is provided during regular visits wherever the patient calls home – in a family home, nursing or residential care facilities, or in the hospital. We strive to honor the patient’s wishes for where they wish to receive our care.

Doesn’t hospice mean giving up hope?

  • No. It means changing your expectations and revising what you may hope for. Hospice focuses on maximizing quality of life, based on an individual’s choices, so that the person may live life as fully as possible, for as long as possible.

Does hospice always result in the patient dying?

  • As a result of expert symptom and pain management, some patients’ condition may improve to the point where they may be discharged from hospice care. They can then be re-admitted later, when necessary.

Isn’t hospice only for cancer patients?

  • Hospice Care is available to all terminally ill people and their families, regardless of diagnosis. Some of the most common non-cancer diagnoses are congestive heart failure, dementia, and chronic lung disease. The patient’s prognosis, along with a desire for comfort care and support, should justify a hospice referral.

Does the patient have to have a DNR in place to receive hospice care?

  • No. While the DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order can be a useful tool for some, it’s not a required document for admission to Hospice Care.

May I continue treatments for my hospice condition?

  • While the Hospice Medicare Benefit requires patients forego curative treatments, we accept patients receiving aggressive therapies aimed at managing or alleviating their pain or symptoms.

Is hospice a place? Where do you provide your care?

  • Most Hospice Care is provided during regular visits wherever the patient calls home — in a family home, nursing or residential care facility, or in the hospital. We strive to honor the patient’s wishes for where they wish to receive our care.