FAQs on Hospice Care

Here are the questions we answer most often for patients, caregivers and families. If you have a hospice question not answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What medications and equipment are covered under my insurance?

All medications & equipment related to Hospice Diagnosis are 100% covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Hospital beds
  • Low air loss wound care mattresses
  • Reclining wheelchairs
  • Oxygen
  • Incontinence supplies
  • Wound care supplies
  • Bed pads
When is the right time to ask about hospice?
Now is the best time to learn more about hospice and ask questions about what to expect from hospice services. Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it’s best for family members to share their wishes long before it becomes a concern. This can greatly reduce stress when the time for hospice is needed.
By having these discussions in advance, patients aren’t forced into uncomfortable situations. Instead, patients can make an educated decision that includes the advice and input of family members and loved ones.
How does hospice care begin?
A patient, family member or primary caregiver can call us at any time, with or without a referral from a doctor. We have an experienced team standing by to listen to your needs and answer any questions you have regarding hospice care. Contacting us does not obligate you to go forward with hospice care in any way.

With permission, we contact the patient’s physician to discuss the possibility and timing of hospice care. Our medical team works with the physician to develop a plan of care that addresses the patient’s individual needs and ensures that the experience is tailored to you and your loved ones.

The Serenity team makes this transition as easy as possible — so you can focus on what really matters. Hospice care can generally begin the same day we receive an order from the patient’s physician. In some situations this can be within hours of your call.

Can a hospice patient choose to return to a more aggressive therapy?

Absolutely. The patient may choose to leave hospice care in order to return to or begin alternate therapy; the patient may return to hospice in the future if they choose to do so.

How does the hospice work to keep the patient comfortable?
Many patients may have pain and other serious symptoms as illness progresses. Hospice staff receives special training to care for all types of physical and emotional symptoms that cause pain, discomfort and distress.

Because keeping the patient comfortable and pain-free is always of primary importance, the patient’s medications, plan of care and any associated therapies are reviewed by the Hospice Medical Director, our Pharmacist Consultant and the patient’s Registered Nurse Case Manager, on a frequent and consistent basis. Any time an adjustment is needed to address any new or breakthrough pain or symptom management, our care team will respond promptly and involve the medical professionals necessary to make the change.

How much do the medications affect the awareness of the patient?
Our physicians and pharmacist consultants have specialized training in effective and appropriate pain management. This allows the patient to remain symptom-free while maintaining awareness and the highest quality of life attainable throughout the illness. Mike Dandurand, PharmD, CGP, FACA attends every Interdisciplinary Group Meeting and is available for consultation with our staff at virtually any time of the day or night. As a Doctor of Pharmacy, Mike is a recognized expert in his field and has served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine for many years.
Does hospice provide 24-hour care?

Sometimes a medical crisis occurs that needs close attention. When this happens, skilled care may be brought into your home for up to 24 hours to possibly avert the need for a hospital visit. Once the crisis is over, the patient will return to routine intermittent care. Serenity Hospice Care will assist you in obtaining any services that you require above and beyond what is provided under the hospice Medicare benefit.

Can a hospice patient leave town?

As long as it is approved by the attending physician, hospice patients are encouraged to travel. Your hospice team can assist the patient in preparing for the trip—including connecting the patient to another hospice at the patient’s destination.

How is home health different from hospice?
Home health services provide what is referred to as “curative care”– skilled nursing, physical therapy and support services that are designed to assist a patient recovering from illness, injury or surgery. Serenity Home Health is a separate but “sister” company to Serenity Hospice Care and is consistently the highest rated home health agency in the state of Kansas.

Hospice Care is a kind of specialized medical care designed to give supportive, compassionate and dedicated care to people with a life-limiting illness. The goal of Hospice Care is to place the focus on comfort and quality of life. Serenity Hospice Care exists to enable patients to be comfortable and free of pain, so that they live each day as fully as possible

Is hospice available after hours?
Hospice care is available ‘on-call’ after the administrative office has closed, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We have multiple nurses on call every evening, along with a Chaplain & Social Worker.
What role does the hospice volunteer serve?

Hospice volunteers are generally available to provide different types of support to patients and their loved ones including running errands, preparing light meals, staying with a patient to give family members a break, and lending emotional support and companionship to patients and family members.

Because hospice volunteers spend time in patients’ and families’ homes, Serenity interviews, trains and mentors volunteers to assure that their volunteer job matches their personality and skill set. In addition, hospice programs have an organized training program for their patient care volunteers. Areas covered by these training programs often include understanding hospice, confidentiality, working with families, listening skills, signs and symptoms of approaching death, loss and grief and bereavement support.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer for Serenity Hospice Care, visit our How To Help page.

Do state and federal reviewers inspect and evaluate hospices?

Yes. There are state licensure requirements that must be met by hospice programs in order for them to deliver care.

In addition, hospices must comply with federal regulations in order to be approved for reimbursement under Medicare. Hospices must periodically undergo inspection to be sure they are meeting regulatory standards in order to maintain their license to operate and the certification that permits Medicare reimbursement. Serenity Hospice Care is proudly accredited by CHAP, the Community Health Accreditation Program.

How can I be sure that quality hospice care is provided?
Many hospices use tools to let them see how well they are doing in relation to quality hospice standards. Most programs also use family satisfaction surveys to get feedback on the performance of their programs.

To help hospice programs in making sure they give quality care and service, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has developed recommended standards entitled ‘Standards of Practice for Hospice Programs’ as one way of ensuring quality.

There are also voluntary accreditation organizations that evaluate hospice programs to protect consumers. These organizations survey hospices to see whether they are providing care that meets defined quality standards. These reviews consider the customary practices of the hospice, such as policies and procedures, medical records, personal records, evaluation studies, and in many cases also include visits to patients and families currently under care of that hospice program. A hospice program may volunteer to obtain accreditation from one of these organizations.

Serenity Hospice Care is proud to be a Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP) certified organization. CHAP is an independent, nonprofit, accrediting body for community-based health care organizations, whose accreditation is favored by Medicare.

Can I be cared for by hospice if I reside in a nursing facility or other type of long-term care facility?
Hospice services can be provided to a terminally ill person wherever they live. This means a patient living in a nursing facility or long-term care facility can receive specialized visits from hospice nurses, home health aides, chaplains, social workers and volunteers, in addition to other care and services provided by the nursing facility. The hospice and the nursing home will have a written agreement in place in order for the hospice to serve residents of the facility.

Serenity Hospice Care has hospice care contracts with virtually every quality skilled nursing facility in our service area.

Let us take care of everything.

Contact Us

The word "hospice" was once used to describe a place of refuge for people on a difficult journey. Our excellent care and deep compassion for patients and families offer a place of comfort on the end-of-life journey. Recognizing that in hospice care, the main guardians are the family caregiver and the hospice team, care is most often provided in the home setting rather than in hospitals and hospice care facilities. The Serenity Hospice Care team will support the patient and family wherever they are.

Complete the form below to inquire about our hospice services in Wichita, Kansas, and surrounding areas.

Wichita Location

9415 East Harry
Suite 306
Wichita, Kansas 67207
(316) 687-2273

Hutchinson Location

11 South Main Street
Suite A
Hutchinson, Kansas 67501
(620) 899-5683

Fax

(316) 866-2930

STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE