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Frequently Asked Questions
Who pays for Hospice services?
Hospice services are reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid, and
some private health insurance policies. Additionally, HRC is contracted
with United Healthcare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, MedCost, and Cigna. However, Hospice care is available
regardless of a patient's ability or inability to pay. In order for
Hospice to receive third party reimbursement, a fee must be charged for services
(skilled nursing visits, social work visits, and supplies) that are routinely
reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurance carriers. Hospice is
required to send statements for services rendered but there will be no pressure
exerted on those families who are not able to pay. Services will in no way
be diminished or altered because of a family's inability to pay.
Hospice funding to help offset the cost
of uninsured patient care is provided through
contributions from churches, memorials, private donations, fundraisers, and the United
Way of Rockingham County.
What does Medicare Cover?
a Medicare-eligible patient receives services from a Medicare-approved
hospice, Medicare pays nearly all of the cost of hospice services,
Who can make a referral?
Anyone. While the majority of HRC's referrals come from the medical community
in some capacity-the patient's physician, nurse, discharge planner in a
hospital, medical social worker at a nursing home, etc., the initial contact
does not have to come from the physician. HRC receives referrals
from patients' family members, friends and neighbors, and occasionally
patients call in the referral themselves. HRC will verify with the
patient's physician that they meet the necessary criteria but the initial
contact does not have to come from the physician. To make a
referral, please call the Hospice office at (336) 427-9022.
I have to wait until my doctor mentions Hospice before I discuss it with
No. As an
informed healthcare consumer, you are perfectly within your rights to
explore healthcare options and to ask your physician whether or not
Hospice care would be appropriate for you. Patients and families
should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician,
other healthcare professionals, clergy, or friends.
Should I call Hospice
sooner rather than later?
Families, caregivers, and patients often tell us they wish they had
called Hospice of Rockingham County sooner. Frequently people
operate on the misconception that hospice care is only for those in the
last days of their lives. Truth is, when someone receives a life-limiting
prognosis (i.e. six months or less, as certified by their physician), the sooner they
are admitted to Hospice, the better it is for the patient and
their caregiver. The longer a patient is in the Hospice program, the
more time they have to utilize all the services we
offer. With earlier referrals & admissions, we can begin pain
management and symptom control measures sooner, thereby making the
patient more comfortable. There is also more time for the patient
and caregiver to utilize all available support services - social workers,
chaplains, & volunteers.
Is Hospice of Rockingham County a cancer organization?
This is probably the most common misconception about hospice care. While
more than half of the diagnoses seen at HRC are malignancies
of some type, this is not a requirement to be in the Hospice program. Hospice
care is for anyone with a life-limiting illness and HRC sees patients with many different illnesses including end-stage heart,
pulmonary, kidney, and liver disease, dementia, AIDS, and ALS, to name a few.
Is there an age requirement to be a Hospice patient?
While many of HRC's patients are older, there is no age requirement
for Hospice services. HRC has served patients ranging in age from a
few weeks old to more than 100 years old.
difficult is caring for a dying loved one at home?
is never easy and sometimes can be rather difficult. At the end of a
long, progressive illness, nights especially can be very long, lonely and
scary. So, HRC has staff available around the clock to consult with
the family and to make night visits as appropriate.
does Hospice "manage pain"?
nurses and doctors are up-to-date on the latest medications and devices
for pain and symptom relief. In addition, physical and occupational
therapists assist patients to be as mobile and self-sufficient as
possible. Hospice also believes that emotional and spiritual
pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain, so we
address these, as well. Chaplains & Bereavement Coordinators are
available to assist family members as well as patients.
is Hospice's success rate in battling pain?
high. Using some combination of medications, counseling, and
therapies, most patients can attain a level of comfort that is acceptable
do anything to make death come sooner?
not. Hospice of Rockingham County does nothing to either speed up or to
slow down the dying process. Just as doctors and midwives lend
support and expertise during the time of child birth, so Hospice provides
its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process.
Hospice provide any support after the patient dies?
One of the unique aspects of hospice care is the follow-up program.
Hospice follows up with a patient's family for a full year after the
patient's death. Support groups are offered on a regular basis, and
one-on-one counseling is available as well. Hospice of Rockingham
County's grief and bereavement
services are offered at no charge and are available to anyone in the community in need of
regardless of whether or not they've had a loved one in our program.
If you need to speak with one of our chaplains,
please call (336) 427-9022. Click
here to visit the Spiritual Services section on our Upcoming Events
Is Hospice affiliated with
any religious organization?
care is not an off-shoot of any religion. While some religious
organizations have started hospices (sometimes in conjunction with their
hospitals), Hospice of Rockingham County serves a broad community and does
not require patients to adhere to any particular set of beliefs.
of the questions above have been adapted from "20 Commonly Asked
Questions" published by National
Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.)
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is Hospice care different from home health care?
Hospice Benefit is an excellent choice for Medicare/Medicaid eligible
patients facing a life-limiting illness. Terminally ill patients'
needs in the last few months of life can be vastly different from those
patients recovering from an acute illness and who have a greater hope of
rehabilitation and recovery.
Hospice of Rockingham County greatly respects and appreciates the role
home health programs play in local residents' acute healthcare.
However, HRC believes when patients receive a terminal diagnosis and the
focus shifts from curing to comforting and caring, they and their
caregivers need the unique end-of-life care and support hospice care
The chart below
illustrates a few reasons why specialized care from Hospice of Rockingham
County is the better choice for terminally ill patients and their
caregivers under Medicare/Medicaid: