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Frequently Asked Questions

Is hospice appropriate for you or a loved one?

Hospice is medically supervised care for those with life-limiting illness. The focus is on symp- tom management and providing comfort for the patient and family.

Where is hospice care provided?

Care is provided in the comfort of the patient’s home. This may be a private residence, nursing home or assisted living facility. Patients may require care in an inpatient setting for a short time. Patients will be stabilized, made comfort- able, and returned to a home setting. Memorial Hermann Hospice has a dedicated Hospice inpatient unit at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital. We also have many inpatient hospice beds throughout the city.

How do I initiate hospice care?

Anyone can inquire about hospice services. Request a referral from your physician noting Memorial Hermann Hospice as your preferred choice or simply contact Memorial Hermann Hospice at 713.338.7400 and we will assist you in the process.

Who pays for hospice care?

Hospice is covered 100 percent through Medicare Part A. Medicaid, private insurance and private payments are also options for non-Medi- care beneficiaries.

What illnesses are considered life-limiting or appropriate for hospice?

Appropriate illnesses include a wide range of life-limiting diseases, including but not limited to cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), liver and kidney disease, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and ALS.

Are all hospices the same?

No. “Hospice” is a medical specialty like pedi- atrics, geriatrics, oncology, etc. Each hospice is a different company. All hospices have the same general philosophy but their services may differ. Some hospices are for-profit corporations, while others (like Memorial Hermann Hospice) are not- for-profit organizations. In Texas, it is your right to request the hospice of your choice if more than one hospice serves your area.

By choosing hospice, will I not have as long to be with my loved one?

No. Our goal is always to alleviate suffering and manage symptoms. Hospice does nothing to speed up or slow down the dying process. Our role is to lend support and allow the disease process to unfold as naturally and comfortably as possible.

How long can you receive hospice care?

While a physician must certify that an individual has approximately six months to live if the disease process runs its normal course, many people are on hospice for much longer. As long as a person meets hospice criteria and a physician re-certifies that the six-month prognosis is probable, then a person may continue on service. Medicare requires that a person be certified each benefit period: two 90-day periods followed by an unlimited number of 60-day periods.

Can a person stop hospice care?

If an individual’s health improves or illness goes into remission, they will likely no longer need hospice care. A person also has the right to stop receiving hospice care for any reason at any time. If one is eligible, he or she may be readmitted to hospice care at any time.