About Hospice Eligibility Hospice Services Hospice FAQs Locations/Contact Information

Hospice care is available for all age groups .... and is not only for cancer patients!

Myth: Families have to pay for hospice care.
Hospice care is a Medicare benefit. Most private insurers also cover hospice care. Through charity care processes and with the support of Mountain States Foundation, Medical Center Hospice is committed to caring for all
patients regardless of an individual's ability to pay.

Myth: Hospice is only for cancer patients and older people.
A large number of hospice patients have congestive heart failure, dementia, chronic lung disease or other conditions. Although the majority of hospice patients are older, hospices serve patients of all ages. Mountain States Hospice has cared for patients as young as 6 weeks and as old as 103.

Myth: Patients can only receive hospice care for a limited amount of time and only during the last weeks of life.
The Medicare benefit and most private insurances pay for hospice care as long as the patient continues to meet the criteria necessary. Patients may come on and off hospice care, and re-enroll in hospice care as needed. People have the right to use hospice services when life expectancy, in the usual course of the disease process, is estimated to be about six months or less. There is a great need for hospice right after the doctor determines the prognosis is limited, or when the disease no longer responds to curative or life-prolonging treatment. Unfortunately many people enter the program too late
to fully benefit from the many hospice services available to them and their families.

Myth: Once a patient elects hospice care, he or she cannot return to traditional medical treatment.
Fact:  Patients always have the right to reinstate traditional care at any time, for any reason. If a patient's condition improves, or if the disease goes into remission, he or she can be discharged from a hospice and return to aggressive, curative measures, if so desired. If a discharged patient wants to return to hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies and HMOs will allow readmission.

Myth: Hospice takes away hope.
Hospice CHANGES one's hope. From hope for a cure when that hope is false, to hope for a comfortable and meaningful end to their life.

Question: When SHOULD a patient be referred to hospice?
The Medicare hospice benefit provides 6 months of hospice care with the option of extending this time if the patient continues to meet hospice criteria.

The value of hospice to patient and family is SUPPORT. Over time a relationship develops between patient, family and the hospice team. The hospice team provides physical, spiritual and psychological care and support. The hospice team assists with resource management, planning for final arrangements and addressing end-of-life issues. They coordinate care to provide the highest level of comfort possible. The benefits of hospice require time.

Question: What does hospice provide that is different from other types of home-based care?
Answer: Hospice patients are not required to be homebound. They can come and go as they are able. Hospice provides a holistic team of caregivers to each patient:

  • Spiritual care - a designated hospice chaplain
  • Psychological care and resource management - a trained hospice social worker
  • Physical care, personal care, skilled nursing care, therapy if required, dietary instruction and support

Hospice provides equipment needed for care in the home (oxygen, hospital bed, etc.).
Hospice provides medications related to the hospice diagnosis, pain meds, anxiety meds, etc.
Hospice provides volunteer support.
Respite care for the family when needed and inpatient care for symptom management.
Bereavement follow-up - 13 months of support and care for the family.

Serving the people of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia

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