Mask and Visitor Policies: Following CDC and state of NC guidance, masks are still required in all Atrium Health facilities. View our current visitor policy

Is hospice just for cancer patients?

No. Hospice is designed for patients with any terminal illness.

Is hospice the same as home healthcare?

While both care for sick people, only hospice provides specialized care for the terminally ill patient and the patient's family. Our nurses are trained in pain management and work with the patient's doctor to control symptoms.

How soon should I begin talking about hospice with my family?

Advance care planning is an important part of routine healthcare for all adults, no matter how old you are or what medical conditions you have (if any). It’s an ongoing process of thinking and talking about what type of treatment you would want if a sudden illness or injury left you unable to speak for yourself. Knowing your wishes ahead of time is a great gift for your loved ones and can relieve some of the stress they will feel if asked to make decisions for you. Click HERE for more information on Advance care planning.

How important is early referral?

An early referral is very important. The longer your relationship with hospice, the more effective we can be. Too often we are called in the very last days of life when the patient is near death and the family is exhausted and overwhelmed. When referral is this late, both the patient and the family have lost many opportunities for a better end-of-life experience. Patients and their families facing life limiting illnesses are encouraged to contact hospice for support.

What should I do if I think my family member needs hospice?

Anyone can call and inquire about hospice services. A nurse or social worker will review our services and answer your questions. We will be more than happy to assist you with the process concerning future needs over the phone or even make a home visit.

Do Medicare and Medicaid pay for hospice care?

Yes, and the reimbursement we receive from Medicare and Medicaid pays the costs for covered hospice services, including the cost of medications related to the patient's hospice diagnosis and durable medical equipment, such as walkers and wheelchairs.

If you do not have Medicare or Medicaid, hospice will check to see if your Private Insurance policy has hospice benefits and whether you will incur a deductible and/or co-insurance.

Room and board charges in the inpatient unit are not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or most private insurance policies.       

How often do nurse and other staff members visit the patient?

One of our nurses will visit at least once a week. These visits, approximately one hour long, will be used to check vital signs, review medications and discuss symptoms and any other patient and family concerns. More frequent visits are made, if needed. Other team members, including social workers, volunteers, nursing assistants, bereavement clinicians and chaplains will make regular or periodic visits, depending on the unique care plan developed for each patient. Many of these visits are on a regularly scheduled weekly basis. More frequent visits can always be arranged as patient and family needs dictate.

Are hospice services available after hours?

Yes. We are on-call seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Our nurses are available nights and weekends. We also have other staff members available, including chaplains and social workers, when emergency support is needed.

What happens if the hospice patient needs to be hospitalized?

Hospice medical staff will coordinate the move to the hospital and maintain communication with the patient and the patient's physician during his or her stay at the hospital.

Does Hospice only provide services in a person's home?

No. Hospice services also are provided in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residences and retirement communities as well as our inpatient units.