Hospice at Home

Hospice caregivers will come to your home and provide comfort and assistance to patients with a terminal or life-threatening illness. The focus of hospice is to provide comfort, not to cure an illness. A specially trained team of professionals and caregivers will serve the “whole person,” including physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. Hospice also provides support for the patient's loved ones during the illness and after the patient's death. Hospice helps patients and their loved ones live each day as fully and comfortably as possible.

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Services include:

• comprehensive pain and symptom management;

• trained nurses on call 24 hours per day;

• personal care for patients;

• assistance for family caregivers;

• ongoing guidance to help patients and family plan ahead;

• care for patients with any diagnosis;

• spiritual and emotional support;

• 12 months of grief and loss support after the patient’s death.


If your doctor has certified that you are terminally ill and have six months or less to live (if your illness runs its normal course), you are eligible for hospice services. This applies to anyone of any age with any type of illness. People with Alzheimer’s may qualify for hospice when they are in the final stages of the illness.


Several payment options exist for Hospice services, but the primary sources are Medicare and private health insurance. Options include:

• private funds;

• health insurance;




To qualify for the Medicare hospice benefit, you must meet all of the following conditions:

• You are eligible for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance).

• Your doctor and the hospice medical director certify that you are terminally ill and have six
  months or less to live if your illness runs its normal course.

• You sign a statement choosing hospice care instead of other Medicare-covered benefits to
   treat your terminal illness. (Medicare still will pay for covered benefits for any health 
   problems that are not related to your terminal illness.)

• You receive care from a Medicare-approved hospice program.

For more information about Medicare hospice benefits, {C}{C}{C}visit here.

You are responsible for paying out of your pocket for any services that insurance does not cover. If you are unable to pay, many hospice programs provide free care from funds the community has donated.

Hospice at Home Checklist

Printable version


_____ What services do you provide patients?

_____ What services do you provide family and friends?

_____ Do you have staff available at night and/or on weekends for emergencies?

_____ What are the responsibilities of family caregivers?

Care Plan

_____ Is there a written care plan for each patient?

_____ Will you include my family and me in designing this plan?


_____ Do you perform criminal background checks on the staff members who will be coming into my

_____ Will the same caregivers be sent to my home for each visit?

_____ Do you assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care provided, and how often do they
           make visits?


_____ Will you help me determine whether my private health or long-term care insurance will cover
           hospice care?

_____ Are you Medicare certified?

_____ How much money will I have to pay out of pocket?


_____ Is your organization inspected by an outside organization?

_____ Is the program accredited by a nationally recognized organization?


_____ How long have you provided services in the community?

_____ Who owns the agency?

_____ Will you provide me with a list of references of doctors and families who are familiar with your


_____ Whom should I call with questions or complaints?

_____ Is there a 24-hour telephone number I can call?

Hospice at Home Related Links

Hospice Association of America

Hospice Council of West Virginia

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Apply for Medicaid in West Virginia