Frequently Asked Questions

What is hospice?

Hospice provides care for terminally ill patients by focusing on quality of life. Professional care plans, including utilization of medications designed to improve comfort through pain and other symptom management are central to hospice.

What illnesses may be included in hospice care?

Many diagnoses are appropriate for hospice care including cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, pulmonary disease and coronary artery disease.

Does Hospice of Cumberland County provide the same services as other available hospice agencies in the county?

Yes.  Hospice of Cumberland County provides for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient as well as the patient’s family/caregivers.  The main differences between Hospice of Cumberland County and other hospices in the area are: Hospice of Cumberland County 1. serves only Cumberland County residents, 2. is a not-for-profit organization and 3. owns and operates a 6-suite, in-patient facility for patients that can no longer receive needed care in a home setting.

Why should we choose Hospice of Cumberland County over other Hospice companies in the area?

Hospice of Cumberland County is the only Hospice in the county that is not-for-profit and operates independently of any outside entity or corporate office.  As a stand-alone not-for-profit, we can make decisions without the high pressures of meeting a profit bottom line.  For that reason, we believe we are able to provide a better, more personalized level of care.  Hospice of Cumberland County services only residents of Cumberland County compared to much larger geographic areas covered by other hospice agencies.  The staff of Hospice of Cumberland County live here in addition to working here.  We believe that enables our team to fully understand the needs of our patients and families.  We are locals helping locals.  Hospice of Cumberland County is your hometown hospice.

What is included in the scope of Hospice of Cumberland County services?

Hospice of Cumberland County provides a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, home health aides, clergy and trained volunteers who will collaborate and create an individualized care/support plan for the patient and family.  Hospice of Cumberland County will visit the patient at home and provide medications, supplies and equipment related to the patient’s diagnosis. If your referring physician is following you during this time, they are included in your care plan decisions.

When should a patient and loved ones discuss using hospice services?

When an individual has a life-limiting illness, it is a great time to investigate the benefits of receiving hospice care along with all care options.  Studies show that a patient receiving hospice care and services early following diagnosis enjoys a better quality of life and often a longer life.  Hospice services include programs designed to assist the patient’s love ones and caregivers as well, thus providing support and comfort for all involved.

When should a decision be made about entering hospice care and who should make that decision?

A person can utilize hospice healthcare when the attending physician determines that, if the individual’s illness ran its natural course, the individual’s life expectancy would be six months or less.

Does that mean that by entering hospice heath care, we are believing or accepting that the patient will die in six months or less? In seeking hospice heath care, am I ‘giving up’ on my loved one?

No.  A diagnosis that states an expectation of six months or less of life expectancy is not a guarantee that the patient will not live beyond the diagnosis time line.  In fact, patients in hospice care often live well beyond the expectancy as a direct result of the better quality of life achieved through improved pain and symptom management.  By arranging hospice heath care, one is changing focus from curing a disease to ensuring comfort, dignity, improved quality of life and a potentially extended life.

Must the patient stop seeing his regular doctor once in the care of hospice?

If your physician wants to be your hospice physician, this is encouraged. Also, the patient is free to see any doctor for any other condition or illness not related to their hospice diagnosis.

Can a hospice patient show signs of recovery and return to other medical treatment?

Definitely.  When a patient’s condition improves and hospice heath care is no longer needed, the patient can be discharged simply by signing a document.

Once a patient is enrolled in hospice health care, is it true they decline in health at a faster rate?

When life-threatening illness is present, patients can decline at any time.  However, hospice health care does not negatively influence a patient’s response to illness.  On the contrary, it is common for patients to exhibit improvement in response to the personalized care they receive from hospice health care.

Does hospice healthcare do anything to accelerate death in patients with a terminal illness?

No. Hospice doesn’t hasten or postpone the natural dying process.  Hospice professionals provide special knowledge and support to elevate the patient quality of life and assure physical comfort.

Does the patient have to be moved to a facility to receive hospice health care?

No.  Nationally, almost 90% of hospice health care patients receive care in their homes or in a nursing home.  Hospice of Cumberland County is the only Hospice in Cumberland County to offer a 6-suite facility for patients requiring advanced care that cannot be offered in a home setting.  The decision to utilize this facility when advanced care is indicated is always entirely up to the patient and loved ones.

How many family or friends does a patient need as caregivers to remain at home following diagnosis?

There is no formula to calculate how many people are needed.  The Hospice of Cumberland County team will create an individual care plan that will address the care needed based on the patient needs.  The Hospice of Cumberland County team will make scheduled visits to the patient’s home to assist care givers.  A nurse is also on call 24/7 to assist and ensure each patient receives prompt and high-quality care.

Are there special conditions/ equipment / changes that must be addressed before a patient may receive hospice care at home?

Hospice of Cumberland County professionals will assess the environment and arrange for special needs to be met to assure safe, comfortable and supportive conditions are achieved for the patient.

What is the admissions process?

Hospice of Cumberland County Admissions Specialists are available by phone at 931.335.2223 and are on call 24/7 to discuss arranging for hospice healthcare.  You, or your doctor can make that call.

How much does hospice health care cost?

Hospice of Cumberland County services are covered by Medicare, TennCare and most private insurances.  We are your home town not-for-profit hospice and an individual’s ability to pay is never a factor in receiving of our services.  Additionally, we do not require a deductible or co-pay from any individual.

Six months of hospice health care is the maximum allowed for a patient.

While there is language in Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances referencing a requirement of six months or less of life expectancy, there remains an understanding that every person will progress through the illness differently.  As such, it is highly unlikely for a policy to set time limits on approved hospice care.  The patient cannot be discharged from hospice care as a result of stability of disease.  If the underlying terminal disease continues to be present and hospice healthcare is desired by the patient and/or family, the patient would not be discharged from hospice care.

Is the relationship with Hospice of Cumberland County terminated when the patient passes away?

Continuing support from Hospice of Cumberland County is a hallmark of our organization.  Our team will continue to contact and provide support in bereavement for as long as the survivors wish.  There is also a support group for those dealing with the death of a loved one.

What Hospice Is:

  • Hospice is a way of providing care for a person who is terminally ill.
  • Hospice is a program with a focus on quality of life and is most helpful in the last six months.
  • Hospice honors the right of people to know accurately and honestly what is happening to them so they can choose how they wish to spend the time they have remaining with purpose and meaning.
  • Hospice is for people who have a terminal illness, including, but not limited to: cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, pulmonary disease and coronary heart disease.
  • Hospice is a way to deal realistically with a fatal disease by offering hope of dignity and comfort.
  • Hospice is a family-oriented program that helps families and friends to care for the loved one at home.
  • Hospice is covered by Medicare, TennCare and most private insurances.  No patient is denied care based on an inability to pay.
  • Hospice does not hasten or prolong death.
  • Hospice allows nature to take its course.

What Hospice is Not:

  • Hospice is not a place to stay, like a hospital or nursing home.
  • Hospice is not a ‘death bed’ service.
  • Hospice is not a place to send dying people so they don’t know what is happening to them.
  • Hospice is not just for cancer patients.
  • Hospice is not a resignation to hopelessness and helplessness.
  • Hospice is not a substitute for the family or the family’s care.
  • Hospice is not expensive.
  • Hospice is not euthanasia.