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Hospice FAQs

Who can receive hospice care?

Hospice services are appropriate for individuals who have a qualifying diagnosis and life expectancy of six months or less (if disease follows its normal course) as certified by both your physician and our hospice medical director. The focus of hospice care is on comfort, not treating or curing an illness.

Does hospice provide 24-hour care?

We do not provide ongoing, 24-hour care in the home, but make visits throughout the week. While round-the-clock care is the responsibility of you and your family, hospice does provide a nurse on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer questions and assist with emergencies.

If you live alone or need assistance, you may need to consider hiring private caregivers, moving to a nursing home or another care alternative to ensure that you receive the level of care that you need. These additional services are not covered by the Medicare/Medicaid hospice benefit.

How are hospice services paid for?

Hospice benefits are available to patients enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration and many private insurance plans. Hospice care is provided in benefit periods. You may receive hospice services for two 90-day benefit periods followed by an unlimited number of 60-day benefit periods. At the start of each benefit period, a medical provider must certify that you are terminally ill so you can continue with hospice care. If you do not have hospice benefits, Bitterroot Health - Daly Hospital offers a financial assistance program.

Are there services hospice does not cover?

Hospice care does not cover:

  • Treatments intended to cure your illness or related conditions.
  • Services that are not part of your hospice care plan. You may need to pay privately for services not covered, like:
    • Diagnostic studies.
    • Private paid caregivers or residential care within a skilled nursing or assisted living facility.
    • Medications that are not directly related to your terminal illness or related conditions (as determined by the hospice team).
    • Any care or services that were not arranged by the hospice care team (emergency room, ambulance transportation, inpatient or outpatient hospital services).
    • Your primary physician will continue to bill Medicare Part B/Medicaid and be paid at the current rate.

Can I discontinue hospice care?

Yes—your participation in hospice care is up to you. If your condition improves, you decide to seek curative treatment for your terminal diagnosis or if you so choose for any other reason to end your care with hospice, you may leave at any time.

Where can I receive hospice care?

Hospice seeks to assists those with a terminal diagnosis live the rest of their time in the comfort of their home, whether that be in your own home, a skilled nursing facility or assisted living community. Your condition and available support system play an important role in determining where you'll be most comfortable receiving care.

Care in the home

When hospice care is received in the home, we ensure that you have the support of a primary caregiver, as hospice does not provide 24-hour care in the home. Our hospice care providers and volunteers will make regular visits to provide direct care and educate and assist your caregivers to enhance your quality of life in any way possible.

Care in skilled nursing or assisted living facilities

If you reside in a skilled nursing or assisted living facility, primary care will be provided by your facility staff with regular visits and support from our hospice team members.

Respite and general inpatient stays

There may be occasions when a caregiver needs time away or you need more intensive medical care than what can be provided outside the hospital setting. In these situations, the hospice care team may recommend a stay with us at Bitterroot Health - Daly Hospital for on-site care:

  • When a hospice patient's caregiver needs a short break, up to five days maximum, at which time we care for the hospice patient in our facility.
  • When a hospice patient's symptoms can't be controlled, despite multiple in-home interventions, at times we will temporarily care for the hospice patient in our facility and help manage symptoms.

What happens when my hospice care team visit?

Your hospice team will contact you to coordinate visit days and times. Our team will make every effort to accommodate your schedule. Upon arrival, your hospice care provider will introduce themselves and discuss with you what your goals are for that visit and explain how they plan to proceed. You are part of every step in the process and every decision made.

What are bath aide services?

There may be times when you or your caregivers need assistance with your personal bathing or hygiene tasks. Our licensed nursing assistant can provide help with bathing, washing hair, shaving, brushing teeth, and changing undergarments/briefs and clothing.

Can I go to the hospital while In hospice care?

We offer a 24/7 hospice nurse-on-call line as your first point of contact before going to the hospital, because typically all symptoms can be successfully managed at home with the help of your hospice team.

Only on rare occasions, a hospice patient may need to go to the hospital for a short stay to deal with an issue not related to your hospice diagnosis.

What is a respite stay?

If your primary caregiver needs temporary relief, you may receive respite care. Should this need arise, respite care will be discussed with your hospice care team and provided through Bitterroot Health - Daly Hospital. You may stay up to five days each time you receive respite care and can receive this care more than once, but only on an occasional basis. We will help you to schedule this stay in advance whenever possible.

What is a general inpatient stay?

General inpatient stay is provided for pain control or other acute symptom management that cannot feasibly be provided in any other setting than a hospital. An inpatient stay would be used when other efforts to manage symptoms aren't working. There may be times when you are experiencing symptoms that require more intensive and round-the-clock medical care, which may be provided at Bitterroot Health - Daly Hospital. During this time, you will remain under hospice care and the hospice care team will continue to follow you and manage your care plan while they work alongside the Bitterroot Health medical team.

What are bereavement services?

Counseling or grief support for the patient and loved ones is an essential part of hospice care. After the patient's death, bereavement support is offered to families for at least one year. These services may take a variety of forms, including telephone calls, visits, written materials or support groups.

How can we give feedback about the hospice services we received?

Your family or caregiver may receive a patient experience survey through the mail asking about your hospice services. We value all feedback and hope to hear from you so we can continue to improve.

Contact our hospice director any time:

Jennifer Dunn
Bitterroot Health Hospice Director
1200 Westwood Drive
Hamilton, MT 59840

How can I donate to Bitterroot Health Hospice?

Your donation helps Bitterroot Health Hospice support patients and their families with needs such as supplies, equipment and expenses not covered by insurance.

Learn more about ways to donate.

Hospice did not receive funds from COVID-19 government grants.

How can I volunteer for hospice services?

Hospice programs and patients are frequently in need of volunteers! Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, these volunteer services have been minimized in order to ensure the safety of our patients, their families and staff. Hospice volunteer training typically takes place twice a year; we will post volunteer opportunities again once they resume.