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Hospice FAQ's

Hospice is philosophy of care. The philosophy of hospice is to help people with terminal illnesses have best quality of life they can have without the trauma of aggressive treatment.

We believe that dying is a normal and natural part of living. Hospice views the whole family, the patient and his/her family, as a unit of care. The patient receives the services of a Registered Nurse as well as home health aide services, social services, chaplain services, and a variety of complementary services such as Pet Therapy and Healing Touch. Hospice service focus on comfort, pain management, and the quality of life. These services are delivered at the patient’s home - wherever the patient calls home (i.e. a private house, assisted living, nursing facility, etc…). Hospice may be the best medical experience you ever have and is ideal for people who no longer wish to go to the hospital and undergo endless testing and aggressive treatments.

Hospice care is NOT just for cancer patients. It is also available to people with heart, kidney, or lung disease, Alzheimer's, AIDS, adult failure to thrive, debility, and many other life-limiting illnesses.

A patient is eligible for hospice when they have months left to live. Two physicians (the patient’s medical doctor and our medical director) certify that they believe the patient has 6 months or less left to live if the disease follows its normal progression. A popular misconception is that someone can benefit from hospice when they have days or hours left to live; this is not correct. Hospice needs time to develop caring relationships with the patient and the family so we can prepare and support all of you in the end-of-life process and keep all of you as comfortable as possible.

The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other health care professional, clergy, friends or call us at Willow Tree Hospice.

Both Medicare and Medicaid have a comprehensive hospice benefit that covers the full cost of standard hospice services including medications and supplies (such as hospital beds and oxygen) related to the individual's hospice diagnosis. Most hospice patients and their families don’t pay a dime for hospice services. Most private insurance plans also provide a hospice benefit. Our staff will work closely with your insurance provider to coordinate benefits.

Simply call Willow Tree Hospice at 610-444-8733 and we will help evaluate your situation and, along with our Medical Director, decide if hospice is appropriate.

Can we switch to Willow Tree Hospice?

Yes, you are allowed to transfer to Willow Tree Hospice if you are not satisfied with your current provider. Call us at 610-444-8733 and we can help you make the transition.

Hospice does NOT cover room and board in a nursing home or assisted living facility except under very limited circumstances. In addition, medications for illnesses not associated with the hospice diagnosis are not covered and will continue to be paid for as they were before the patient elected hospice benefits.

No. Many communities have more than one hospice. Medicare requires hospices to provide a basic level of care but the quantity and quality of services can vary significantly from one hospice to another. To find the best hospice for your needs, ask your doctor, health care professional, clergy, social workers, or friends who have received care for a family member. You may want to call or meet with the hospices and ask questions about their services.

No. Hospice patients receive care in their personal residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospital hospice units, and inpatient hospice centers.

One of the first things a hospice team will do is prepare an individualized care plan that will, among other things, address the amount of care giving needed by the patient. Hospice staff visit regularly and are always accessible to answer medical questions. Hospice staff will help you determine if additional care givers are necessary.

There is no limit to how long a patient can be on hospice, as long as their condition continues to decline. If the patient's condition improves and the disease seems to be in remission, patients can be discharged from hospice and return to regular Medicare coverage until they begin to decline again, at which time they can receive hospice services again, or go on about their daily life. For a discharged patient that later needs to return to hospice care, Medicare and most private insurance will allow additional coverage for this purpose.

The patient or their health care power-of-attorney can revoke hospice services at any time by simply signing a revocation form. The patient immediately reverts back to regular Medicare coverage. It really is that easy.