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What is hospice?

What are the benefits of hospice care?

Who is eligible for hospice?

Does hospice only care for cancer patients and the elderly?

How is a referral made?

What is an interdisciplinary team?

What if a patient lives longer than six months?

What is the primary physician’s role when a patient is under hospice care?

What if the patient needs to go to the hospital?

What are Advanced Directives?

Does hospice do anything to speed up the dying process?

How is hospice care funded?



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 Directives. 


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 thorough level.


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 trained volunteers. 

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 reimbursement source.


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For information contact us at 704-487-4677 or by clicking here to email us.


Administrative Office
Phone: 704.487.4677
Fax: 704.481.8050
Wendover Hospice House
Testa Family Hospice House
Phone: 704-751-3918