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Hospice Care - Arranging for Hospice Care

If you decide that you want hospice care, you'll need to complete documents to determine your eligibility and insurance coverage and to outline your treatment preferences. These documents include:

  • Health care agent or medical power of attorney. For more information, see the topic Choosing a Health Care Agent.
  • Living will. For more information, see the topic Writing an Advance Directive.
  • Insurance forms. Hospice services are covered by Medicare, by Medicaid in most states, and by many private insurance plans. Check with your employer or your health insurance plan for information about what services your plan covers. Many hospices will also help people who cannot pay.
  • Other legal documents related to finances, property, and other matters.

Choosing a hospice program

Your doctor or a member of your health care team may refer you to a hospice program. If not, you may want to ask your doctor to do so.

Or you may choose a hospice program yourself. Start by calling some of the programs in your area. People and organizations that can help you find hospice programs include:

  • Your doctor or hospital.
  • The medical social worker at your hospital or nursing home.
  • Your state or local agency on aging.
  • Your state health department.
  • Your insurance provider.
  • The phone book. (Look in the yellow pages under "home care" or "hospice.")
  • Your state hospice organization.
  • National organizations such as the National Association for Home Care, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and the Hospice Association of America. For contact information, see the Other Places to Get Help section of this topic.

A checklist(What is a PDF document?) can be helpful when you are choosing a hospice program. This checklist has questions you can ask to compare the hospice programs in your area.

All hospice programs should provide written materials that describe their services, including who provides the services, who is eligible, costs and payment processes, and the program's insurance and liability information. Ask for this information, and read it carefully.

Staying organized

After you have begun the hospice program, you will want to get all billing arrangements in writing, including costs and payment arrangements. Be sure to keep a copy.

Be sure that your family knows:

  • What services you are to receive from the program.
  • What the schedule is.
  • The names and phone numbers of important contact people at the hospice. Post this information near your telephone.

It's also important to make sure that your family will get the support they need after you die. Choose one person to be responsible for notifying family and friends about support group meetings, bereavement counseling opportunities, and other services that the hospice program may provide.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 14, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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