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Frequently Asked Questions

When is Hospice appropriate?
Hospice care becomes an alternative when a patient has reached the last phases of a terminal illness, and has been given a prognosis of six months or less. It can also be an alternative following the discontinuation of treatment, an accident or the sudden onset of a catastrophic illness. The subject can be addressed at any time during the illness, as physician and patient discuss treatment options. When a patient chooses hospice, the decision to give up curative measures is made in favor of comfort care, focusing on pain management and symptom control, psychosocial support for both patient and family and ancillary services that lessen the burden of illness and caregiving.

Should I wait for our physician to bring up the subject of hospice, or can I raise it first?
The decision to choose hospice should be made by patient and family with the input of a physician. Open and honest discussion about treatment options should be held throughout the course of the illness. If a patient or family feels that a physician is reluctant to discuss hospice care, it is always appropriate for one or the other to approach the subject.

How do I refer someone to Houston Hospice?
A referral begins with a phone call to Houston Hospice. A caring staff member will ask important questions about the illness, previous treatment, the attending physician's endorsement of hospice care, as well as questions about the home and family situation that would affect caregiving. A referral can come from the family, a friend, clergy, health care provider or even from the patient.

What does the admissions process involve?
The admissions process involves an interview with an admissions nurse to discuss what the patient and family can expect from Houston Hospice, how care is provided, services available and information on illness and its effects that help prepare the family for the coming days. Medicare, Medicaid and/or other available benefits will be discussed, although Houston Hospice never denies treatment based on a patient's ability to pay for services.

Can we keep our own doctor?
Houston Hospice encourages the continuation of a patient's primary care physician. If this is not possible or preferred, Houston Hospice has medical staff available to help patients who have no physician.

Where is hospice care provided?
Houston Hospice provides the majority of its care in a patient's home, with family and friends acting as caregivers. If there is no residence, the agency can furnish care in nursing homes, or other types of residential facilities in their own communities. If a patient requires inpatient care in order to address severe symptoms or to provide respite for a caregiver, Houston Hospice has contracts with hospitals throughout its service area as well as in its the Margaret Cullen Marshall Hospice Care Center located in the Texas Medical Center.

What assistance does hospice provide in the patient's home?
Houston Hospice patients are cared for by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice aides, non-denominational chaplains, therapists and trained volunteers.

How do we pay for hospice care?
Houston Hospice is a Medicare and Medicaid certified hospice, and has relationships with a number of managed care companies. Arrangements may be negotiated to meet specific patient's needs with individual insurance case managers. Charity funds may be available for part or all care if a patient qualifies based on a Houston Hospice financial assessment. No patient is denied services based on his or her ability to pay.