1. What is hospice?

Hospice is not a place. It is specialized medical care and emotional support for people with incurable conditions and their loved ones. Hospice stresses comfort—physical, emotional and spiritual.

Each patient is encircled in care by a team of hospice professionals consisting of: a doctor, nurses, social worker, counselor, chaplain, home health aide and trained volunteers. This team partners with the patient, family and primary care physician to develop an individualized plan of care designed to maximize each patient’s comfort and quality of life.

2. Why choose hospice?

Research shows that over 94% of Americans would prefer to be at home, surrounded by the people and things they love, at the end of life. Hospice care makes this possible. A recent study shows that patients under hospice care may also live longer—an average of 29 days.1

3. When is the right time for hospice?

Doctors can’t predict when a patient will die, but they do know when a cure is not possible. When the doctor says, “There’s nothing more I can do,” that’s the right time for hospice. Research shows that when patients are brought into hospice earlier, they have time to experience a fuller quality and longevity of life.2

4. Who is eligible for hospice?

To receive hospice benefits, the physician must state that end of life is expected within six months if the disease follows its normal course. This does not mean that care will end in six months. Hospice can be renewed as long as the physician and hospice team certify that the disease continues to meet established hospice criteria.

5. Who pays for hospice?

Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans cover hospice care. Fear of costs should never prevent you or your family from asking for hospice. As a non-profit hospice provider, Hospice Alliance will never turn away a patient because of inability to pay.

6. What benefits are provided?

Hospice covers medications and equipment related to the hospice diagnosis, including pain medications and sleeping aids, hospital beds, walkers, wheelchairs, skin care and continence products. Additionally, the hospice benefit pays for visits from every member of the hospice team, emotional counseling for the patient, and family and grief support for a full year following the loss of a loved one. Your hospice team is on-call for you and your family 24/7, including weekends and holidays, at no additional charge to you.

7. What is the difference between for-profit and non-profit hospice agencies?

As a non-profit, Hospice Alliance does not answer to shareholders. We are accountable to the residents of the communities we serve. That means we are able to focus solely on our patients and provide them with all the services needed to ensure comfort and quality of life. For example, other hospices may visit patients only a couple of times a week. Our practice is to provide a Certified Nursing Assistant, as outlined in the Plan of Care, to give the highest level of care and support for our patients. With this extra level of support, nearly 90% of our patients are able to remain at home.

8. What makes Hospice Alliance different?

Hospice Alliance cares for people wherever they call home (private homes and apartments, assisted living facilities, memory care facilities and skilled nursing homes). We also operate a 24/7 residential care facility. Our Kenosha Hospice House is open to residents of Kenosha, Racine and the surrounding areas, including Eastern Walworth County and Northern Lake County, Illinois.

9. What if my loved one isn’t ready to accept hospice?

Many people struggle with making the hospice decision. That’s why Hospice Alliance offers “bridging programs,” including Palliative Care. These programs enable patients to continue receiving curative care along with pain management and comfort measures. Once a patient’s symptoms are actively managed, they come to appreciate the relief and peace of mind this extra level of care provides. These programs make the transition to hospice easier for patients and families.

10. How do I get hospice care started?

A  hospice Admissions/RN will come to your loved one’s home or the hospital to assess their condition free of charge. Even if you are not sure it’s time for hospice, we will be happy to meet with you. We can help you identify signs and symptoms, including decreased appetite, sleeping more, and withdrawal, so you can be confident when to ask for hospice care.

Most people do not want to spend their last months in and out of the hospital. With the help of Hospice Alliance, your loved ones won’t have to. Even if you feel it’s your responsibility to care for your loved one, we can support you in achieving that goal. Hospice Alliance is devoted to ensuring you and your loved one enjoy a better quality of life through to the last days of life.

1 Comparing Hospice and Non-Hospice Survival Among Patients Who Die Within a Three-Year Window,” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management; March 2007.
2 Same publication as above.