- Hospice care is for people with a life expectancy of six months or less, if the illness runs its normal course.
- Patients can receive hospice care if they accept palliative care (for comfort) instead of care to cure their illness and they sign a statement choosing hospice care instead of other Medicare-covered treatments for their terminal illness and related conditions.
- If a patient lives longer than six months, they can still receive hospice care, provided the hospice medical director recertifies that they are terminally ill.
- Hospice care is given in benefit periods. A patient can receive hospice care for two 90-day benefit periods, followed by an unlimited number of 60-day benefit periods.
- At the start of each benefit period (following the initial 90-day benefit period), the hospice medical director or other hospice doctor must recertify that the patient is terminally ill so that they can continue to receive hospice care.
- A benefit period starts the day a patient begins receiving hospice care and it ends when their 90-day or 60-day benefit period ends.
- Patients have the right to change their hospice provider once during each benefit period.
When determining if hospice is the right decision for yourself or a loved, the Heart to Heart Hospice survey Is lt Time for Hospice? may be helpful.
Find a Heart to Heart location near you or Refer a Loved One to our services.