Frequently Asked Questions

When should I call Hand In Hand Hospice?

Many patients who receive hospice care say they wish they had known about hospice earlier. It is appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s care options, including hospice, at any time when faced with a life-limiting illness. By law, the decision belongs to the patient. Many people are not comfortable talking about the end of life. The hospice team is sensitive to these concerns and is always available to discuss them with the patient, family, and physicians.

Hospice serves those who are at the end-stage (having a life expectancy of six months or less) of any disease. As health care changes and chronic diseases increase, hospice serves a widening range of patients. People commonly served by hospice include those with cancer, diseases of the heart and lungs (CHF, COPD), AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig´s disease) and Alzheimer´s disease.

Some health care providers may feel uncomfortable bringing up hospice care, so a patient or caregiver should feel free to bring up the topic. In addition to physicians, a patient, friend, family member, or pastor may make a hospice referral. An early referral enables the hospice team to develop the relationships that meet the needs of the patient and caregivers. If the patient continues to meet hospice criteria, services may continue longer than six months.

It takes time to say good-bye to immediate and extended family and friends. Patients and families benefit from the expertise and guidance that hospice provides during the last months of life.

What does the hospice admission process involve?

One of the first things hospice will do is contact the patient’s physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for the patient at this time. The hospice care goals and available services will be reviewed carefully with the patient and caregivers to make sure they are understood. The patient (or his or her representative) will be asked to sign consent and insurance forms similar to those signed when entering a hospital.

What is bereavement care?

Bereavement care is the final component of “end-of-life care.” Bereavement counseling is offered to survivors by the hospice team (and other sources) for up to 13 months after the death of their loved one. Bereavement care refers to the organized program of grief support provided by hospice to caregivers and families. Based on the needs of the families and caregivers, bereavement care might include individual counseling, support groups, or informational mailings. Family members also can call to request additional support any time during the year following the death of their loved one.

What is respite care?
Respite care is short-term care given to a hospice patient by another caregiver, so that a family member or friend who is the patient’s caregiver can rest or take time off. This type of care was created to allow caregivers time away from administering care. The goal is to help relieve stress on the caregivers and at the same time meet the needs of the individual receiving care.

Who will pay for hospice care?
Hospice coverage can be provided through Medicare and Medicaid in Kansas, as well as through most private insurance plans. If coverage is not available, Hand In Hand Hospice will help investigate other resources the family may not be aware of. If necessary, most hospices provide care by using money raised in their community from memorials, special events, foundation gifts, and other contributions.

Once you begin hospice care, can you leave the program?
Yes, you always have the right to leave the hospice program at any time, for any reason. If you are eligible, you can go back to hospice care at any time.


“Hospice enabled us to keep Mom at home as she wished. Her death was peaceful with Dad and other family members around her.”

“Hand In Hand provided our father with loving care & concern and they provided us with support and peace of mind. We are grateful for the guidance over his last months of life.”