Can You Stay in Your Home with Hospice Care?

Author: Sarah Williams

Reviewed by: Catherine Braxton

Yes, you can stay in your home with hospice care. This allows you to remain in a comfortable, familiar and safe environment while receiving end-of-life care. It also reduces your family’s caregiving responsibilities, allowing you to spend quality time together. Alternatively, you might choose to receive hospice care in a stand-alone hospice facility, a hospital or another long-term care setting.

Home Hospice Care Services

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, almost 52% of Medicare beneficiaries received hospice benefits in 2019. Although seniors can receive such financial assistance for hospice care in various settings, research indicates that most aging adults would prefer to die at home.

Home hospice care focuses on comfort, quality of life, symptom management and holistic support. It doesn’t seek to cure conditions. Multidisciplinary care teams typically include doctors, nurses, therapists, nursing assistants and in-home aides, with support from spiritual advisors, medical social workers and volunteer companions. It also covers medical supplies and equipment, dietary oversight and short-term inpatient care. Hospice provides support for families, including bereavement counseling.   

Medicare Coverage of Hospice Care

Medicare pays the full costs of hospice care services for qualifying recipients of Part A coverage. For those in a long-term care setting, such as an assisted living facility or nursing home, it also covers bed-and-board costs. However, individuals aging at home don’t qualify for financial assistance for housing and meal costs. To meet Medicare hospice requirements, seniors must:

  • Have a life expectancy of six months or less, as certified by a hospice physician (and family doctor, where appropriate)
  • Stop curative treatments
  • Agree to receive benefits for hospice care rather than to treat other conditions

Other Ways to Pay for Home Hospice Care

Although most hospice recipients qualify for Medicare, some seniors may need to fund their care from other sources. Many long-term care insurance plans include hospice coverage. Some state Medicaid plans include hospice benefits. Other possibilities include VA benefits, private insurance and self-pay using income, savings and family assistance.