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Understanding Hospice & Palliative Care

Hospice Care and Palliative Care are Both Supportive Care

They both support the best quality of life for people living with serious illness and their families


Our Focus Care Programs are available for both our palliative and hospice care patients

  • Hospice care in the US is usually defined by what Medicare covers: team-based symptom management for people with a 6-month prognosis who have decided against, or no longer qualify, for further curative treatment.  Our services are covered by all Medicare Advantage programs and most private insurers.
  • Palliative care can be provided along with potentially curative treatments for ~12 months. Currently, only a few private insurers cover palliative care, and it is not yet covered by Medicare or Medicaid.  We have been providing palliative care services since 2008.

What does a “six-month prognosis” mean? Medicare has criteria that describe late-stage disease for many diagnoses, but determining prognosis is an inexact process. People can remain on hospice for more than six months if their condition warrants. On average, 15% of people are discharged from hospice because their condition improves.  Anyone on hospice can also decide to disenroll at any time to resume curative treatment.

Unlike all other forms of healthcare, hospice and palliative care are reimbursed by a flat daily payment.  This means that giving extra care costs the hospice more, and is a key reason why non-profits may be willing to provide more care than for-profits.

Resource Palliative Care Hospice Care
Physician (MD)
Nurse (RN)
Aide (CNA)
Medical Social Worker
Spiritual Counselor May be included
Volunteer Not included
Medicare Coverage Limited/pilot Full
Medical Equipment & Supplies Based on insurance coverage
Medications Based on Insurance Coverage
Visit Frequency Limitations apply As required
Timeframe 12 months+ 6 months+

For both hospice and palliative services, care is not continuous, although visits can be made at any time of the day or night.  Visit frequency is more limited under palliative care coverage.  Hospice visits are increased as needs change – a nurse, an aide and a spiritual counselor may all visit in the same day.

Hospice Eligibility

Below are some indicators for hospice Eligibility
hospice eligibility oregon

Hospice Myths & Facts

  • Several studies in people with cancer have shown that those on hospice lived longer than those receiving active treatment
  • About 15% of people on hospice are discharged due to a stabilization or improvement in their health
  • People on hospice can revoke service at any time and for any reason
  • Medications that effectively treat symptoms can continue to be provided
  • Each hospice has their own list of medications that they cover
  • Prescription medications unrelated to the hospice condition may be paid for by other insurance benefits including Medicare Part D
  • The selection of their attending physician is up to the individual; Care Partners is committed to honoring their freedom of choice

A Do-Not-Resuscitate order is not needed to be on hospice.  We encourage people to fill out POLST forms and Advance Healthcare Directives to clarify their wishes, but no specific choices are required.

 Whenever possible we use non-drug therapies and techniques. With medications, we strive to use the lowest doses necessary to meet patient needs/goals.  We want to maximize quality of life, which includes the capacity to interact with family and friends.  A number of people even travel with our assistance. 

The hospice benefit includes 4 levels of care, one of which is general inpatient care (GIP) for symptoms that cannot be adequately managed in the home setting. Hospice patients may also be hospitalized for conditions unrelated to their terminal illness, if required.

  • Hospice is in home care
  • Our team meets you where you are

Your hospice benefit covers care for your terminal illness and related conditions. Once you start getting hospice care, Original Medicare will cover everything you need related to your terminal illness, even if you remain in a Medicare Advantage Plan or other Medicare health plan. Which allows you to choose any hospice not just one affiliated with your program.

We Are Available Day or Night

Care Partners is on call around the clock to meet your needs. Call now to speak with an experienced and caring nurse.  We’ve been helping people like you for more than 40 years.