What is hospice? (back to top)
Hospice is a special way of caring for people with
life-limiting illnesses and their families. Hospice treats the
whole person. A life-limiting illness can cause many reactions,
including pain and discomfort, fear and loneliness, concern about
family and friends, and anxiety about what lies ahead.
Hospice strives to meet all of the patient’s needs –
physical, emotional, social, and spiritual – as well as the needs of the
family. Hospice is important because it provides many benefits
that aren’t possible in a traditional health-care setting.
Through hospice, the family is directly involved in making decisions
and in caring for a person they love. Hospice serves the family
as a unit and is sensitive to any special needs.
Hospice enables people with life-limiting illnesses to
make decisions about how and where they want to spend the rest of their
lives. It can also help them make choices about Advance
What are the benefits of hospice care? (back to top)
Hospice is special because it concentrates on care, not
cure. One of the major fears of patients with a life-limiting
illness is the fear of pain. In hospice, the goal is to achieve
control over pain, without impairing alertness. Hospice helps
patients achieve physical and emotional comfort so that they can
concentrate on living life fully. Patients are encouraged to stay
active for as long as they’re able – for example, to take part in
activities they enjoy or to do something they’ve always wanted to do.
Usually, family or friends care for patients at home,
amid familiar surrounding and loved ones. Care at home can help
patients and families draw closer and enrich their lives. It can
also help relatives and friends become less frightened about
death. Hospice treats patients and loved ones as the unit of
care. When someone has a life-limiting illness, his or her loved
ones feel pain also. Hospice programs provide relief to caregivers
who often may neglect their own needs.
Who is eligible for hospice? (back to top)
The only criteria to be a hospice
patient is a life expectancy of 6 months or less. Anyone with any
life-limiting illness is eligible for hospice care. The patient’s
primary physician and the hospice medical director certify that a
patient is eligible.
Does hospice only care for cancer patients and the elderly? (back to top)
Hospice care is available to anyone with a life-limiting
illness and a life expectancy of 6 months or less. Less than
half of the patients we care for have cancer. We provide services
to patients with lung disease, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, renal
failure, debility and decline – any life-limiting illness.
Hospice care is also provided to all ages. One-fourth of our
patients are less than 65 years old.
How is a referral made? (back to top)
Call Hospice Cleveland County at
704-487-4677. Give the patient’s name, birth date, diagnosis, and
the name of their doctor. After these two simple steps, our
admissions team will contact the patient’s doctor and verify that the
patient is appropriate for hospice care. ANYONE – a patient, friend, minister, neighbor, physician – ANYONE can make a hospice referral.
Early referrals are important. Hospice works best
when we are able to get involved with a patient’s care early.
The early involvement of hospice services allows the patient and family
to benefit from the whole scope of services at a higher and more
What is an interdisciplinary team? (back to top)
Each patient is assigned an interdisciplinary team. The
team consists of professional staff and volunteers and may include the
medical director, the patient’s primary physician, a primary nurse,
social worker/counselor, chaplain, hospice aide, grief counselor, and
The team is committed to preserving human dignity
through compassion, integrity, and excellence in patient care.
Our goal is to provide comfort care by working to reduce pain and help
control symptoms and to provide psychological, spiritual, and grief
counseling. The team works to enhance each patient’s quality of
life during their final days. Their job is to educate each
patient and family about death and dying and to help the patient and
family prepare for death in his or her own way.
What if a patient lives longer than six months? (back to top)
Hospice services are provided as long as the patient’s
primary physician and the hospice medical director agree that the
patient’s life expectancy is less than 6 months if the illness takes
its expected course.
What is the primary physician’s role when a patient is under hospice care? (back to top)
The patient’s primary physician is a member of the
interdisciplinary team. Team members update and consult with the
primary physician on a regular basis.
What if the patient needs to go to the hospital? (back to top)
If hospitalization is needed, the patient’s
interdisciplinary team will coordinate this and maintain contact with
the patient and their family during the patient’s stay in the
hospital. Hospitalized patients receive a daily nursing visit.
What are Advanced Directives? (back to top)
Advanced Directives may include a Living Will, a Health
Care Power-of-Attorney, and a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. A
Living Will states the wishes of the patient regarding a desire for a
natural death. A Health Care Power-of-Attorney legally appoints a
surrogate if the patient is unable to make medical decisions. A
DNR is an order, signed by the patient’s primary physician, which
states that in the event of death, CPR will not be attempted.
Hospice Cleveland County does not require patients to have Advanced
Directives in order to receive hospice services.
Does hospice do anything to speed up the dying process? (back to top)
Hospice does nothing to hasten or prolong the dying
process. Death is seen as a natural part of life. Hospice
services are designed to bring comfort, to control pain and other
symptoms, and to address the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of
the patient and family.
How is hospice care funded? (back to top)
Hospice Cleveland County provides services to
patients and their families regardless of their ability to pay.
Some of our services are covered by reimbursements from Medicare,
Medicaid, and private insurance.
Patients who have Medicare, Medicaid, and some private
insurance policies may be eligible for a special hospice benefit.
Through this benefit, hospice is paid a per diem rate from Medicare,
Medicaid, or the insurance company to cover hospice staff visits,
medications pertaining to the admitting hospice diagnosis, routine
medical supplies, durable medical equipment, in-home lab work, oxygen
therapy, short term inpatient respite care, short term inpatient care,
crisis care, and grief counseling.
If coverage is not available, hospice will help
investigate other resources the patient and family may not be aware
of. Donations from the community, United Way contributions,
fundraisers, and memorials are other important means of financial
support for our programs.
Hospice Cleveland County is a not for profit
organization serving patients regardless of ability to pay or