For Healthcare Professionals


Quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury is the hallmark of hospice care. Hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain and symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support tailored to the person’s specific needs and wishes. Care and support is also provided to the person's loved
  • Hospice provides care and services when cure is no longer possible.
  • Hospice care honors the whole person so that emotional, social, and spiritual needs are addressed along with the physical.
  • Hospice care is skilled, aggressive, and compassionate with the goals of comfort, freedom from pain and other distressing symptoms, while fostering personal independence for as long as possible.
  • Hospice care is provided by a team of healthcare professionals, each addressing the different needs of the person and the family.  Specially trained volunteers are also available for extra help and to give family members a break.
  • Whenever possible people who choose hospice care continue to live in the comfort of their own homes in the care of those who know and love them best. However for those whose needs cannot be met at home, hospice care is provided in assisted living, nursing, hospital, and hospice facilities.
  • Hospice services are fully covered under Medicare Part A; Medicaid and many private insurance plans offer a hospice benefit.
  • Hospice admission under these Benefits requires that the person’s physician and the hospice medical director determine that the person is unlikely to live longer than 6 months if his or her illness is allowed to run its natural course. Admission under these Benefits also requires that the person forego any treatments that are intended to cure the illness.
  • Hospice care encourages the use of regular maintenance medications or medications that improve comfort and quality of life.
  • The decision to enroll in hospice can be changed at anytime if the person’s illness improves or if the person chooses to resume curative treatment.
Only 30% of Medicare beneficiaries who die in Virginia do so with the support of a hospice team so



QuestionPalliative CareHospice Care
Who can receive this care? Anyone with a serious illness, regardless of life expectancy, can receive palliative care Someone with an illness with a life expectancy measured in months not years
Can I continue to receive treatments to cure my illness? You may receive palliative care and curative care at the same time Treatments and medicines aimed at relieving symptoms are provided by hospice
Does Medicare pay? Some treatments and medications may be covered Medicare pays all charges related to hospice
Does Medicaid pay? Some treatments and medications may be covered In 47 states, Medicaid pays all charges related to hospice
Does private insurance pay? Some treatments and medications may be covered Most insurance plans have a hospice benefit
Is this a package deal? No, there is no ‘palliative care’ package, the services are flexible and based on the patient’s needs Medicare and Medicaid hospice benefits are package deals
How long can I receive care? This will depend upon your care needs, and the coverage you have through Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance As long as you meet the hospice’s criteria of an illness with a life expectancy of months not years
What organization provides these services?
  • Hospitals
  • Hospices
  • Nursing Facilities
  • Healthcare Clinics
  • Hospice organizations
  • Hospice programs based out of a hospital
  • Other healthcare organizations
Where are services provided?
  • Home
  • Assisted living facility
  • Nursing facility
  • Hospital
  • Usually, wherever the patient resides, in their home, assisted living facility, nursing facility, or hospital.
  • Some hospices have facilities where people can live, like a hospice residence, or receive care for short-term reasons, such as acute pain or symptom management.
Who provides these services? It varies. However usually there is a team including doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains, similar to the hospice team. A team – doctor, nurse, social worker, chaplain, volunteer, home health aide and others.



Hospice Reimbursement through Medicare

Epidemiology of Dying and End of Life Experience 

Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association

National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization