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It is part of our mission to enhance the quality of life for those nearing the end of life’s journey and for those who grieve.  Below are list of commonly asked questions about Hospice.

Is hospice care for cancer patients only?

No! Hospice care is provided for all “end-stage” diseases. End-stage refers to any disease that has progressed to a point where the patient is given a prognosis of 6 months or less to live by their doctor. Hospice care can continue past six months if the patient lives longer.

How are patients referred to HOSPICE?

Normally, the patient’s doctor makes the prognosis, that the patient has less than six months to live and refers the family to hospice. If a patient or family feels hospice is appropriate, they can contact Hospice directly and they will consult with their doctor.  Easy Living Care Home has worked with many Hospice agencies.  

What is the hospice philosophy towards death?

Hospice care affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. It neither hastens nor postpones death, but works to achieve the best quality of life for patients and their families by managing pain and symptoms and by providing emotional and spiritual support as needed and requested.

How is hospice care paid for?

Professional care of the hospice team is provided regardless of ability to pay. In many cases third party insurance reimburses Hospice for part of the cost of hospice care and Hospice can accept Medicare and Medi-Cal.

How often will nurses visit?

Hospice nurses are on call for medical advice or emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They educate and support the family or other caretakers to be the primary caregivers. Easy Living Care Home will work with the nurses assigned to your loved one.

Is the home the only place hospice care can be delivered?

No. Although most Hospice services are delivered in a personal residence, some patients live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Who is involved in the care of the patient?

Hospice care involves a team approach to care. The patient’s doctor remains involved, and our nurses, social worker, home health aides, chaplain, and hospice trained volunteers work together to support the patient and family in this time of need. Easy Living Care Home works closely with all of the above.

Can EASY LIVING CARE HOME provide Hospice care?

Yes.  Hospice can also attend patients who reside in participating long-term care facilities. We will work with Hospice Clinical Coordinator and coordinate care for our patient.

What areas does most Hospice serve?

Most Hospice agencies provide services to Alamo, Blackhawk, Castro Valley, Danville, Diablo, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Sunol.

When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made – and who should make it?

At any time during a life-limiting illness, it’s appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s care options, including hospice. By law, the decision belongs to the patient. Understandably, most people are uncomfortable with the idea of stopping an all-out effort to recover from their disease. Hospice staff members are highly sensitive to these concerns and are always available to discuss them with the patient, family and physician.

Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice, or should I raise it first?

The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other healthcare professionals, clergy or friends.

What if our physician doesn’t know about hospice?

Most physicians know about hospice. If your physician wants more information, Easy Living Care Home will be happy to answer their questions or provide educational publications. Other good resources are The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, medical societies, state hospice organizations, local hospices, or the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organizational Helpline, 1-800-658-8898 or visit their website at In addition, physicians and all others can obtain information on hospice from the American Cancer Society, the American Association of Retired Persons, and the Social Security Administration.

Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?

If improvement in the condition occurs and the disease seems to be in remission, the patient can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive curative therapy or go on about his or her daily life.
If a discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare and most private insurance companies will allow additional coverage for this purpose.

What does the hospice admission process involve?

Hospice staff will contact the patient’s physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for this patient at this time. (We have medical staff available to help patients who have no physician.) The patient will be asked to sign consent and insurance forms. These are similar to the forms patients sign when they enter a hospital.

The “hospice election form” says that the patient understands that the care is palliative (that is, comfort care aimed at pain relief and symptom control) rather than curative. It also outlines the services available. The form Medicare patients sign also tells how electing the Medicare hospice benefit affects other Medicare coverage.

Is there any special equipment or changes I have to make in my home before hospice care begins?

Hospice will assess your needs, recommend any necessary equipment, and help make arrangements to obtain it. Often the need for equipment is minimal at first and increases as the disease progresses. When needed Hospice provides durable medical equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, and hospital beds free of charge.

In general, hospice will assist in any way it can to make home care as convenient, clean and safe as possible.

How many family members or friends does it take to care for a patient at home?

Hospice staff will prepare an individualized care plan that will address the amount of care-giving a patient needs. Hospice staff visit regularly and are always accessible to answer questions and provide support.

Must someone be with the patient at all times?

Easy Living Care Home will provide care to the patient continuously 24/7.

How difficult is caring for a dying loved one at home?

It’s never easy and sometimes can be quite emotionally and physically draining. At the end of a long, progressive illness, nights especially can be very long, lonely and scary. So, hospices have a staff available around the clock to consult with the family and to make night visits as appropriate.

Does hospice do anything to make death come sooner?

Hospices do nothing either to speed up or slow down the dying process. Just as doctors and midwives lend support and expertise during the time of child birth, hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process.

How does hospice “manage pain”?

Hospice nurses and doctors are up-to-date on the latest medications for pain and symptom relief.

What is hospice’s success rate in relieving pain?

Very high. Using some combination of medications, counseling and therapies, most patients can attain a level of comfort that is acceptable to them.

Will medications prevent the patient from being able to talk or know what’s happening?

Usually not. It is the goal of hospice to help patients be as comfortable and alert as they desire. By constantly consulting with the patient, hospices have been very successful in reaching this goal.

Is hospice affiliated with any religious organization?

Hospice care is available for everyone, without discrimination because of religious, ethnic, cultural, or economic background. Hospice respects and supports cultural differences in regards to providing our end-of-life care and grief support.

Is hospice care covered by insurance?

Hospice coverage is widely available. It is provided by Medicare nationwide, by Medi-Cal in California, and by most private health insurance policies. To be sure of coverage, families should check with their employer or health insurance provider.

If the patient is not covered by Medicare or any other health insurance, will hospice still provide care?

The first thing hospice will do is assist families in finding out whether the patient is eligible for any coverage they may not be aware of. Hospice services will provide care for those who cannot pay, using money raised from the community or from memorial or foundation gifts.

Does hospice provide any help to the family after the patient dies?

Most Hospice agencies offer continuing contact and support for family and friends for 13 months following the death of a loved one.

If the patient is eligible for Medicare, will there be any additional expenses to be paid?

In some hospices, the patient may be required to pay a 5% or $5 “co-payment” on medication and a 5% co-payment for respite care. 

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