Frequently Asked Questions
What is Hospice?
Hospice, or end-of-life care, emphasizes pain management and symptom control rather than curative treatment. Hospice affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. Death is neither hastened nor postponed. Patients are provided personalized services from a caring community of professionals. This team of caregivers addresses not only the physical, but also the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families as they cope with serious illness. At the center of hospice is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.
Who can receive hospice care?
Hospice care is appropriate if your doctor and the hospice medical director certify that you have a life-limiting illness, and if the illness runs its normal course, death may be expected in six months or less. At times, however, an illness does not follow a predictable course and patients may be on hospice services for periods longer than six months. Hospice care provides comfort and support for patients with all types of illnesses including cancer, heart, lung, vascular, kidney and neuromuscular diseases, all types of dementia, and AIDS. If you feel that you or a loved one may benefit from hospice care, we are only a phone call away. A member of our experienced staff can work with you and your physician to determine if hospice care is right for you. If you prefer to be contacted via e-mail, please utilize the Contact Us option on this website and we will promptly reply to your request.
Who is involved in the hospice process?
The hospice team consists of the person receiving care, the patient’s family and loved ones, the patient’s personal physician, the hospice team physician, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, social workers, counselors and spiritual caregivers, trained volunteers, and other professionals such as speech, physical, and occupational therapists, as needed.
How often will the hospice team visit?
The hospice team’s involvement with each patient is individualized based on the patient’s and family’s needs as described in their personalized care plan and may change or evolve over time. Generally speaking, our nurse usually visits once or twice per week depending on the symptoms of the patient. For those requiring more custodial (bath, etc.) care, nursing assistants often visit anywhere from one to five times a week. Frequencies of other disciplines such social work, chaplaincy and volunteers are largely at the requests of patients and families and often vary. The aforementioned are just general guidelines, however, and it is important to remember patient/family needs change over time and the Capstone team is committed to providing whatever visitation support is necessary based on each individual situation.
Is hospice available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
Yes. While hospice visits are intermittent and vary, members of the hospice are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day and only a phone call away.
Why are hospice volunteers needed and what do they do?
Hospice volunteers provide essential support to patients and their loved ones. Examples of this type of assistance might include practical assistance such as running errands, preparing meals, household chores or caregiver respite. On the other hand, a volunteer may just simply provide a listening ear or companionship when its needed most or administrative help in the hospice office. Regardless of their involvement, all Capstone volunteers have been thoroughly screened and trained and are eager to help when requested.
Can my loved one be cared for by hospice if they reside in a nursing facility?
Yes. In addition to private residences, hospice services may also be provided to eligible residents in assisted living centers, personal care homes and/or nursing homes.
Does a hospice patient need to be “homebound?”
No. The “Homebound” requirement is only for Medicare home care services. We encourage you to live your life to the fullest. Patients are able to continue attending church, visiting family, and even traveling out of town.
Do state and federal reviewers inspect and evaluate hospices?
Yes. There are strict state and federal licensure requirements that must be met by hospice programs in order for them to provide hospice care. Hospices undergo inspection and surveys to be sure that they meet regulatory standards.
Does a hospice staff member need to be with a patient at all times?
Hospice is designed to provide intermittent visits by the hospice team members unless the patient has significant symptoms that need constant monitoring.
Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?
Yes. Sometimes a person’s health improves or their illness goes into remission. If that happens, your doctor may feel that you no longer need hospice care. In addition, you may choose to stop getting hospice care at any time, for any reason, without penalty. If at some point in the future you wish to try hospice services again and your condition meets the eligibility criteria for hospice, hospice care can be reinstituted.