Frequently Asked Questions About Hospice

The Denver Hospice has set the standard for hospice and grief support in the Denver metro area since 1978. Our not-for-profit, community-based hospice serves nine counties and is committed to patient and family-centered care for individuals facing a terminal illness.

What is Hospice?

Hospice care provides comfort and support to patients with advanced illness and their families. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of life for patients by addressing each patient’s physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs. Considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness, hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to deliver expert medical care, manage pain, and support emotional and spiritual needs expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes.

Learn more about hospice care. 

Who can receive hospice care?

Hospice care is for anyone who has a condition that is considered terminal—the person is expected to live six months or less if the disease or condition runs its normal course. The patient, family and physicians understand that the focus of hospice care is on pain, symptom management and comfort and not a cure. 

Can I still use my own doctor?

Hospice physicians work closely with each patient’s personal physician to determine a hospice plan of care tailored to meet each patient’s needs and wishes. 

How is hospice care paid for?

Medicare pays for hospice services. Most insurance plans, HMOs and managed care plans include hospice coverage.  Tricare covers hospice services for active duty and retired members of the military. The Denver Hospice has programs to care for indigent and uninsured patients.

Learn more about paying for hospice. 

What if I enter hospice and change my mind?

If a person changes his or her mind about hospice care, he or she can be discharged from hospice and seek curative treatment again. Patients do not lose their Medicare benefits if they are discharged from hospice care to resume curative care

When should a decision be made to enter hospice...and who makes it?

At any time during a life-threatening illness when a cure is not possible, it is appropriate to consider hospice. The decision belongs to the patient, family and the patient’s physician. Hospice care is most beneficial when there is sufficient time to manage symptoms, control pain and establish a trusting relationship.

Learn more about the hospice decision.

What services does hospice care cover?

The hospice benefit covers all care related to a patient’s terminal diagnosis. This includes routine home visits by a nurse, social worker, chaplain and certified nursing assistant. Other members of the hospice care team include a dietitian, volunteer, pharmacist and hospice medical director. A physical and occupational therapist may be consulted.  If appropriate, the hospice benefit also covers all medications related to the terminal diagnosis are covered, along with medical supplies, equipment and some personal care items. Nutritional supplements as directed by the dietician or physician are also covered.

While not all hospices offer integrative therapies, The Denver Hospice provides music and art therapy, massage, aromatherapy, comfort touch and Reiki, and animal activity visits. Learn more about integrative therapies.

Does hospice provide support to the family after a loved one dies?

Trained counselors in The Denver Hospice Grief Center provide support following the death of a loved one. Our Footprints Children’s Grief Center offers support to children ages 3-18, including anticipatory grief. It is the only program of its kind in the Denver metro area.

Is The Denver Hospice affiliated with any religious organizations?

The Denver Hospice proudly serves patients of every faith. Our chaplains are well trained to support patients and families that follow any faith or spiritual community.

Does The Denver Hospice serve veterans?

Approximately 30 percent of patients at The Denver Hospice are military veterans. As a Level IV Partner (the highest level attainable) in the national “We Honor Veterans” program, The Denver Hospice is uniquely qualified to meet the needs of veterans. The Denver Hospice is also a preferred hospice provider of the U.S. Department of  Veteran’s Affairs.

Learn more about our veterans program.

How does someone get admitted to hospice?

First, the patient’s physician agrees that hospice care is appropriate and makes a referral. Then, The Denver Hospice team makes an appointment to visit the patient and conduct a hospice assessment. Once the patient or the patient’s healthcare decision maker signs a consent form, The Denver Hospice Team will begin discussing a hospice plan of care with the patient and family members.