What Hospice Care Is – and Isn’t

  • Hospice provides clinical care and support for someone with a terminal diagnosis and life expectancy of six months or less when treatments or a cure are no longer an option.
  • Hospice care is typically not the best choice for those with a chronic illness where a curative treatment may still be an option.

Similarities and Differences for Hospice Care and Palliative Care

HospicePalliative
What is similar?
Care provided by an interdisciplinary teamCare provided by an interdisciplinary team
Support for someone with a terminal diagnosisSupport for someone with a terminal diagnosis
Care focused on comfort and quality of lifeCare focused on comfort and quality of life
Provides support for patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needsProvides support for patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs
What is different?
Available for patients when a cure is no longer an option, or the treatments outweigh the benefitsPatients can continue to seek curative treatment
Available to patients with a life expectancy of six months or lessAvailable to patients diagnosed with a chronic illness
Provided in a private home, group home, assisted living facility, long-term care facility or nursing homeProvided in a private home, group home, assisted living facility, long-term care facility, nursing home or hospital
Covered by Medicare/Medicaid and most private insuranceMay be covered by Medicare/Medicaid and subject to co-pays and deductibles
Care team includes RN case manager, aide/CNA, social worker, chaplain, dietician, volunteer; and music, massage, physical and occupational therapistsCare team includes nurse practitioner and/or aides/CNAs
Reduces or eliminates ER and hospital visitsMay include periodic clinic visits and hospital treatment
Increases options for utilization of both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for symptomsOffer more frequent of symptom assessments

When Is It Time For Hospice Care or Palliative Care

Those eligible for hospice care are:

  • Patients with a life expectancy of six months or less
  • Patients who would like to receive care wherever they call home
  • Patients with a primary caregiver
  • Patients who are choosing comfort care over curative treatment

An RN Case Manager will meet with patients and families for the admission process to assess needs and formulate a plan of care.

Signs That it Might be Time for Hospice Care:

  • Patient has increased hospitalizations or ER visits
  • Patient experiences progressive weight loss
  • Patient needs additional assistance with activities of daily living

When is it Time For Hospice?

Signs That it Might be Time for Palliative Care:

  • Patient does not meet hospice eligibility
  • Patient wishes to pursue treatment for diagnoses
  • Disease prognosis is uncertain

If a patient needs additional support while receiving curative treatment, then palliative care is likely the best option for them.

Hospice Care Cost vs. Palliative Care Cost

Both hospice care and palliative care can be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance depending on your coverage and diagnoses. Contact your primary insurance provider for additional information.

How to Pay for Hospice

Additional Resources for Understanding Hospice Care

St. Croix Hospice is here to provide information as you begin your hospice journey.

 

It May Be Time For Hospice

When your provider determines that curative treatment may no longer be an option, or that the side effects of treatment outweigh the benefits, it may be time for hospice. Patients who begin hospice earlier benefit from a higher quality of life, fewer hospitalizations and lower medical costs. Studies have shown patients may live longer with hospice care than without. The St. Croix Hospice team serves patients and their loved ones with exceptional comprehensive care, tailored to meet each patient’s unique needs to help them live their remaining days to the fullest.

It May Be Time for Hospice

FAQ

Where do hospice and palliative care provide services?

Hospice care can be provided in most care settings, such as:

  • Private Residence (your home)
  • Skilled Nursing Facility
  • Long-term Care Facility
  • Assisted Living Facility
  • Group Home

Palliative care may be provided in any care setting, such as:

  • Private Residence (your home)
  • Skilled Nursing Facility
  • Long-term Care Facility
  • Assisted Living Facility
  • Group Home
  • Hospital

Who can be treated?

Hospice Care: A person with a terminal diagnosis of six months or less to live

Palliative Care: A person with a serious illness who are wanting to continue curative treatment

Can I continue to receive treatments to cure my illness?

Hospice Care: Hospice patients do not continue curative treatments related to their terminal diagnosis but may continue treatments that are life sustaining and improve quality of life.

Palliative Care: Palliative patients do often continue to pursue curative treatments related to their diagnosis.

Who regulates hospice care and palliative care?

Hospice is an approved Medicare benefit with detailed regulations on care expectations and oversight. Currently there is no specific Medicare approved palliative program that would require minimum visit expectation and oversight.

How hospice works | Medicare