Frequently Asked Questions

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WHAT IS HOSPICE?

Hospice is a special kind of care for people who are living with an end-stage disease. With hospice, pain and discomfort are controlled. The patient and family can choose from many services that help with physical pain and symptoms, personal care, social support and spiritual conflict. The family receives ongoing grief support after the patient dies.

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WHEN IS IT TIME TO TALK ABOUT HOSPICE?

Seriously ill people and their loved ones should know about hospice as early as possible —long before care is needed. Understanding hospice helps the patient to have more control and choice about his or her end-of-life care.

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WON'T THE PATIENT "GIVE UP” WHEN HE/SHE HEARS IT IS TIME FOR HOSPICE?

Choosing hospice care is not giving up. Choosing hospice is simply changing the focus of care from curing the disease to controlling the symptoms. There is still a place for hope. With good pain and symptom management, information and support, patients are able to concentrate on what is meaningful to them. Most hospice patients still have plans and goals and see value in every day.

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WHAT IF THE PATIENT IMPROVES?

Hospice patients do improve! A patient is discharged from hospice any time his or her condition stabilizes, improves or the goals change from comfort care to aggressive, curative treatment.

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IS HOSPICE JUST FOR CANCER PATIENTS?

No. Hospice is not just for cancer patients. Care may be provided to people with any end-stage disease.

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IS HOSPICE EXPENSIVE?

Hospice is very cost effective care. It is covered fully by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurers. Donations from the community and contributions from the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle and Hampshire County United Way assure that hospice care is available to all medically eligible people--even those without insurance.

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IS HOSPICE A PLACE LIKE A HOSPITAL OR NURSING HOME?

No, hospice care is delivered wherever the patient resides. Hospice of the Panhandle provides home care hospice in the patient's home, nursing facility or assisted living facility in Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan and Hampshire Counties.

However, Hospice of the Panhandle does have an inpatient facility that provides hospital-like care to patients who need complex pain or symptom management. Patients may also receive short-term respite care when their caregiver needs to be absent for a period of time or short-term residential care for patients.

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CAN HOSPICE PROVIDE CAREGIVERS AROUND THE CLOCK?

No. Twenty-four hour care is the responsibility of the patient and family. Hospice patients who live alone or need assistance with 24-hour care will need to consider nursing home placement or other care alternatives.

Support is available at any time it is needed. In addition to visits by the hospice team throughout the week,a hospice nurse, social worker and chaplain are on-call 24 hours a day to handle questions and emergencies that arise outside of normal business hours.

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HOW WELL DOES HOSPICE MANAGE PAIN?

Very well. One of the basic goals of hospice is that patients will be comfortable and pain free. Hospice nurses work closely with the patient, family and physician to achieve comfort by using medications, counseling and complementary therapies.

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IS HOSPICE AFFILIATED WITH ANY RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION?

No. Hospice of the Panhandle is not affiliated with any religious organizations. While some religious groups have started hospices, all hospices serve a broad community and do not require patients to adhere to any particular set of beliefs.


To find a hospice program in another area:

Hospice Council of West Virginia • http://www.hospicecouncilofwv.org
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization • http://www.nhpco.org

  To inquire about hospice services or to schedule a free informational visit and benchmark assessment,
contact us at 304.264.0406, (toll-free) 800.345.6538 or hospice@hospiceotp.org.