Hospice Eligibility, Referral & Payment


Getting Started

Starting to think about the need for hospice can be an overwhelming experience. To help guide you through the process, read more below about who is eligible for hospice services, how a referral to hospice is made, and how hospice is paid for.

Symptoms that may indicate the need for HHU – Hospice include uncontrolled pain, weight loss, physical deterioration, shortness of breath, repeat ER visits, frequent falls, decreased appetite, difficulty swallowing, and lethargic or sleeping more often.

Hospice is not just for the very end; the benefits of hospice may be available to patients for six months or more. We often receive feedback from families who wished their loved one had received hospice services sooner.

For more information or to schedule a Hospice Informational Visit, please call 877-356-4514.


People are often eligible for hospice when they are facing the end-stage of a chronic illness, their health status is declining, or their disease is progressing and not responding to curative treatments. Hospice serves patients with a variety of diagnoses, including: heart, lung, kidney or liver disease; end-stage dementia and/or Alzheimer’s; ALS; Parkinson’s disease; cancer; and other debilitating or life-limiting conditions. Patients of all ages benefit from hospice services.


Anyone can refer a patient to hospice. If it is not clear if a patient qualifies for hospice services, call for a free Informational Visit. During the visit, HHU – Hospice staff will provide information to the patient and family, and answer questions regarding hospice.


The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers the services provided by the hospice care team. In addition, the benefit pays for many types of home medical equipment, including hospital beds. Medications related to the terminal illness are generally covered when approved by the hospice team. Many HMO’s and private insurance companies also provide coverage for hospice services. Our staff can assist in determining insurance coverage.

The Medicare Hospice Benefit also covers hospice services provided in the St. Clare Hospice House, but does not cover room and board. The Home Health United – Visiting Nurse Service Foundation has funds available to assist patients and families who are unable to afford these fees.


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