Frequently Asked Hospice Questions

Hospice FAQ

When is the right time to contact Brighton Hospice?

The right time to call us is when you or someone you love is faced with the challenge of an advanced illness. In fact, most families who use our services say that they wish they had called us sooner.

One of our professionally trained nurses will visit you and give you all the information about how we can help you and your family, so that you can make an informed decision about your healthcare. You do have to acknowledge that HOSPICE care is a comfort-oriented program, not a curative one.

Many of our patients thrive with the personal care that the HOSPICE team provides. Our goal is to ensure that the patients’ last months are comfortable and as pain free as possible.

Where are our services provided?

Care is provided wherever you are living: at home, in a nursing home, assisted living or group home throughout the Wasatch Front.

What is “Hospice care”?

Focuses on:

  • Care, not cure
  • Considers the patient and the family as a single unit.
  • Emphasizes dignity, quality of life and spiritual care.
  • Encourages patients and family to participate in the decision process

“Hospice care” begins later when a terminal diagnosis of less than 6 months has been made. It provides care where the patient lives and keeps the patient as pain and symptom-free as possible with an emphasis on quality of life.

Is Hospice a place where the terminally ill go to die?

Hospice is not a place but a concept of care. More than 90% of the hospice services provided in this country is based in the home. This allows families to be together when they need it most…sharing the final months and weeks in peace, comfort and dignity.

However, when home care is not an option, in-patient care can be available through a contracting hospital, or skilled nursing facility. In addition, in-patient care is available to those receiving home care in emergency situations or when family members need respite care.

Does Hospice only serve persons diagnosed with cancer?

No. Many of our patients admitted had conditions related to cancer, but many have other diagnoses. Those include: congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Failure to Thrive, and many more.

To be eligible for hospice care does a patient need to be bedridden?

Hospice care is appropriate at the time of the terminal prognosis, regardless of the patient’s physical condition. Many of the patients served through hospice continue to lead productive and rewarding lives. Together, the patient, family, and physician determine when hospice services should begin.

Are patients no longer eligible to receive hospice care through Medicare and other insurance after 6 months?

According to the Medicare hospice program, services may be provided to patients with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of 6 months or less. However, if the patient lives beyond the initial 6 months, he or she can continue receiving hospice care as long as the attending physician recertifies that the patient is terminally ill. Medicare, Medicaid, and other private and commercial insurances will continue to cover hospice services as long as the patient meets hospice criteria.

Can a patient who receives hospice care receive care from the primary care physician?

Hospice reinforces the patient-primary physician relationship by advocating either office or home visits, according to the physician preference. Hospice works closely with the primary physician and considers the continuation of the patient-physician relationship to be of the highest priority. Brighton Hospice has a Palliative Care Certified Medical Director that either works in conjunction with the Primary Caregiver or can take the place of a primary care physician.

If a patient has hospice care, can he or she return to traditional medical treatment?

Yes. Patients always have the right to reinstate traditional care at any time, for any reason. If a patient’s condition improves or the disease goes into remission, he or she can be discharged from a hospice and return to aggressive, curative measures, if so desired. If a discharged patient wants to return to hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance companies and HMOs will allow readmission.

Must the patient have a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate order) to elect the hospice benefit?

No, but it is encouraged.

If a patient is admitted to an acute care hospital, do hospice services cease?

When a hospital admission is part of the hospice plan of care, the hospice continues to care for the hospitalized patient and to provide case management services including coordination of care and discharge planning.