A resource for navigating serious illness and end-of-life care decisions
“To care for those who care for us is one of the highest honors.” - Tia Walker
Hospice is specialized medical care for people with a serious illness, prioritizing comfort for individuals with a life expectancy of 6 months or less. The hospice team consists of professionals focused on symptom management, emotional and spiritual support, and quality of life for the patient and their loved ones. Hospice care can be provided wherever the patient lives including private residences, adult care homes, and skilled nursing facilities.
The interdisciplinary team of hospice professionals includes:
- Hospice physician or medical director
- Social Workers
- Chaplains or Spiritual Counselors
- Hospice Aides
- Trained Volunteers
- And if necessary, speech, physical, or occupational therapists
- The patient’s primary doctor may choose to follow the patient on to hospice and would then be included on the team
Questions about Hospice care
What can Hospice care help with?
In addition to symptom management, social services, and spiritual support, hospice also provides medications, medical supplies and equipment, caregiving education for the family caregivers, short-term inpatient care when symptoms cannot be managed at home or for respite care, and grief support for loved ones.
How can hospice meet our individual needs?
A plan of care is developed by the hospice interdisciplinary team to address the care needs of the patient and family. The frequency of visits will be adjusted based on the changing needs, with increased visits when the patient is nearing end-of-life. Hospices are required to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All hospices must have nurses to respond to needs after regular business hours, on the weekends, and on holidays. When interviewing potential hospice agencies, you may want to ask if they have social workers and chaplains on-call for support 24/7.
For more questions to consider when speaking with potential providers, please download our "Additional Questions You May Want to Ask Your Potential Hospice Provider" (PDF)
How long can a patient stay on hospice service?
When a person meets eligibility requirements and elects hospice care, their length of stay on hospice is broken into “benefit periods”. The first two benefit periods are for 90 days each, followed by 60-day benefit periods. The hospice physician evaluates the patient for eligibility throughout the benefit periods and will re-certify the patient for hospice if the person continues to meet hospice criteria. Hospice care is not limited to 6 months and a person can stay on hospice care for an unlimited number of benefit periods.
However, if a patient’s condition stabilizes or improves over time, the hospice may determine that the patient no longer meets eligibility criteria, and the patient will be discharged from service. If the patient questions this determination, they may appeal this decision. The hospice agency will file an appeal of discharge.
A person may choose to unenroll from hospice service at any time and for any reason including a decision to pursue curative treatment or to explore different medication or treatment options.
How is Hospice Paid for?
Hospice is most often paid through the Medicare Hospice Benefit. It may also be covered by a Medicare Advantage Plan, through a state Medicaid program, and by private insurance. Hospice coverage through state Medicaid plans and private insurance varies, so it is good to ask about the specific benefits you are entitled to.
For people who do not have health insurance, hospice agencies may offer services at no cost or at a reduced rate depending on what an individual can afford.
Do hospices need to be licensed?
All hospices must be licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services Licensing Division. You can find more information at ADHS - Public Health Licensing - Home (azdhs.gov). Complaints can be registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services through this link where you can find an “Online Complaint Form”.
What other services might be available to me?
Many hospices provide additional support services including:
- Music Therapy
- Pet Therapy
- We Honor Veterans
Ask your hospice provider about what supplemental services they offer.
Hospice Care and Benefits
Watch the video below that further explains hospice care and its benefits to patients and their loved ones, courtesy of Goals of Care Coalition of New Jersey.
Visit Hospice Compare, a website designed to help consumers find and compare hospice agencies based on the quality of care they deliver to patients.
Ambiguous Loss & Dementia: Living with Uncertainty
Roots & Roads Recorded Webinar
Caregiver stress and burden may sometimes be misunderstood, with the real culprit being ambiguous loss - when the person is physically present but psychologically different from who they once were. Learn definitions and concrete strategies to infuse hope, meaning and promote self-care.
Dementia: The Struggle is Real
Roots & Roads Recorded Webinar
80% of people with dementia have behavioral challenges, including agitation, during their disease progression.
Current management of these behaviors with prescription drugs do not always work and the lack of clinical studies can be frustrating. In the context of Casa de la Luz Hospice’s innovative agitation program, Dr. Rebecca Powell and Piper Frithsen will share practical, non-pharmacological approaches to treating dementia behaviors and their underlying causes like boredom, restlessness, and sensory overload.
hospice care organizations in southeastern arizona
We have encouraged hospice care agencies supporting end-of-life to submit their information for inclusion in our listings. We are building a comprehensive location for those in need to find support.
Roots & Roads
The content on this website, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and all other materials, is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not meant to be complete or exhaustive or to be applicable to any specific individual's medical condition. The Foundation has done its best to ensure that the information provided on this website and the resources available are accurate and provide valuable information; however, no material on this website is intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The Foundation assumes no duty to correct or update the website nor to resolve or clarify any inconsistent information that might be a part of the website. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your licensed physician or other medical care provider.