If you qualify for hospice care, you and your family will work with the Hospice of the North Coast team to set up a plan of care that meets your individual needs. All licensed hospice programs must provide certain services, but the range of support services and programs can differ from one location to the next. Our team of professional caregivers may include:
A hospice doctor is part of your medical team. You can also choose to include your regular doctor or a nurse practitioner on your medical team as the attending medical professional who supervises your care. Note, however, that only your hospice doctor and your regular doctor (if you have one) — not a nurse practitioner — can recommend care (whether hospice or conventional curative care) and certify that you’re terminally ill and have a life expectancy of 6 months or less.
At Hospice of the North Coast, we are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to give you and your family support and care when you need it. If you need to get inpatient care at a hospital, we will make the arrangements. Comfort, dignity, emotional support and quality of life for patients and their family is our highest priority.
Hospice care is for people with a life expectancy of 6 months or less (if the disease runs its normal course). If you live longer than 6 months, you can still get hospice care, as long as the hospice medical director or other hospice doctor re-certifies that you’re terminally ill (with a life expectancy of 6 months or less).
Medicare Advantage Plan or Other Medicare Health Plan
Once you choose hospice care, your hospice benefit (Medicare, and most private insurance) should cover everything you need. Original Medicare covers all Medicare-covered services you get while in hospice care, even if you were previously in a Medicare Advantage Plan or other Medicare health plan. If your plan covers extra services that aren’t covered by Original Medicare (like dental and vision benefits), your plan will continue to cover these extra services as long as you continue to pay your premium.
If you choose to leave hospice care your Medicare Advantage Plan will not start again until the first of the following month.
If your health improves or your illness goes into remission, you may no longer need hospice care. You always have the right to stop hospice care at any time. If you choose to stop hospice care, you will be asked to sign a form that includes the date your care will end.
What if the Patient Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Through community contributions, memorial donations, donating to and shopping at our Resale Shop, and donating to our Grateful Families Program, Hospice of the North Coast can help provide patients who lack sufficient payment with free services. In addition, Hospice of the North Coast offers a number of naming rights options, including the ultimate opportunity to name North County’s only Hospice House. With naming rights options donors can create a lasting legacy by proudly displaying their name or permanently recognizing and memorializing a loved one.
It’s only natural for patients and family members to dwell on the imminent loss of a loved one rather than on making the most of the life that remains. Hospice helps patients reclaim the essence of life by helping them, and their family members, understand that hospice can also be a time for sharing memories, laughter, family reunions and hope.