What is Hospice Care?
Hospice Patients Rights

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care focuses on providing care, comfort and support to people with life threatening illnesses. The goal of the care is to help people with end life illnesses have peace, comfort and dignity. Care can be provided in a variety of settings including:

  • The patient or caregivers home
  • At a hospice center
  • In a hospital
  • In a skilled nursing facility

What does hospice provide?

  • Physician services for the medical direction of the patient’s care
  • Regular home visits by nurses
  • Medical supplies, such as catheters and bandages
  • Medical equipment, such as hospital beds and wheelchairs
  • Delivery of medications, medical supplies and equipment
  • Medications for pain relief and symptom management
  • Home health aide services for personal care, such as dressing and bathing
  • Social work services
  • Spiritual care
  • Grief counseling
  • Volunteer support to provide companionship to the patient and help for family members
  • Short-term inpatient and respite care
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech/language services

Back to top

Hospice Patients Rights

Hospice patients have the right to:

  • receive care of the highest quality;
  • have relationships with hospice organizations that are based on ethical standards of conduct, honesty, dignity, and respect;
  • in general, be admitted by a hospice organization only if it is assured that all necessary palliative and supportive services will be provided to promote the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being of the dying patient. However, an organization with less than optimal resources may admit the patient if a more appropriate hospice organization is not available, but only after fully informing the client of its limitations and the lack of suitable alternative arrangements;
  • be notified in writing of their rights and obligations before their hospice care begins. Consistent with state laws, the patient’s family or guardian may exercise the patient’s rights when the patient is unable to do so. Hospice organizations have an obligation to protect and promote the rights of their patients;
  • be notified in writing of the care the hospice organization will furnish, the types of caregivers who will furnish the care, and the frequency of the services that are proposed to be furnished;
  • be advised of any change in the plan of care before the change is made;
  • participate in the planning of the care and in planning changes in the care, and to be advised that they have the right to do so;
  • refuse services and to be advised of the consequences of refusing care;
  • request a change in caregiver without fear of reprisal or discrimination;
  • confidentiality with regard to information about their health, social, and financial circumstances and about what takes place in the home;
  • expect the hospice organization to release information only as consistent with its internal policy, required by law, or authorized by the client;
  • be informed of the extent to which payment may be expected from Medicare, Medicaid, or any other payor known to the hospice organization;
  • be informed of any charges that will not be covered by Medicare, and the charges for which he or she may be liable;
  • receive this information orally and in writing within 15 working days of the date the hospice organization becomes aware of any changes in charges;
  • have access, on request, to all bills for service the patient has received regardless of whether they are paid out of pocket or by another party;
  • be informed of the hospice’s ownership status and its affiliation with any entities to whom the patient is referred;
  • be informed of the procedure they can follow to lodge complaints with the hospice organization about the care that is, or fails to be, furnished, and regarding a lack of respect for property;
  • know about the disposition of such complaints;
  • voice grievances without fear of discrimination or reprisal for having done so; and
  • be told what to do in the case of an emergency.

Back to top