How Do You Get Hospice Care at Home?

Author: Andrea Miller

Reviewed By: Brindusa Vanta

You get hospice care at home through Medicare if you have a terminal illness and your primary care doctor and a hospice doctor certify that you have a life expectancy of six months or less. Additionally, you must agree that you only want to receive comfort care and discontinue treatment for any underlying illness related to the terminal illness. Your Medicare Part A plan will help you find a certified hospice provider in your area who will come to your home.

What Happens When You Start Hospice? 

When you start hospice, the hospice team will meet with you and your family to make a care plan that addresses your symptoms and concerns. It incorporates a range of services depending on your needs, such as medical and skilled nursing care, medical supplies and medications to help manage your symptoms.

In addition to physical care, hospice provides emotional support for the patient and family. Additional services include social resources, spiritual support and grief counseling. Medicare Part A pays for the cost of hospice services if you qualify for this type of care.

How Long Does Hospice Care Last?

Hospice care lasts for the remainder of the patient’s life. If an individual lives beyond the expected six months, they still receive hospice care. In such cases, the hospice medical director or another hospice doctor must recertify the individual as terminally ill. Beneficiaries can access hospice care for two 90-day benefit periods initially, followed by an unlimited number of 60-day benefit periods thereafter.