Frequently asked questions

Hospice questions and answers

Hospice is a special way of caring for people with a terminal illness, their families and their caregivers. It treats the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient, and focuses on comfort and having the highest quality of life possible (known as comfort care). Every hospice patient and family is assigned to a hospice team. The hospice team, patient, family and caregiver will create a plan of care according to the patient's needs.
The patient's primary care provider may not begin the discussion about hospice but must approve admission to hospice. Hospice is available to any patient whose primary care provider believes he or she has 6 months or less to live. It is the patient and his or her family who need to talk to the hospice team about whether the patient would benefit from having hospice care.
We are available at any time during a patient's life-limiting illness to discuss the appropriateness of hospice care. When the patient is ready to focus on symptom control and pain management (comfort care), hospice is appropriate.

Hospice is available to patients at home, or other place of residence such as a hospice inpatient facility, hospital, skilled nursing facility or residential hospice.

Allina Health Hospice is available to anyone living in our service area, which includes 33 Minnesota counties and 3 Wisconsin counties.

Hospice nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including holidays). Each patient has a schedule of planned visits from members of his or her hospice team.
Hospice care is covered by most insurers, including Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers. Private pay options are also available. Our admission staff can help evaluate your coverage by calling 651-635-9173 or 1-800-261-0879. It is our policy to never refuse service to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
Our business office is able to answer questions about your hospice bill by calling 612-262-1779. For your convenience we also offer an online bill pay option.

Myths and facts about hospice

Truth: Hospice is actually about taking control and living well for the last days of life. Hospice allows patients to live their final days in the comfort and familiarity of their home surrounded by family and friends.
Truth: Hospice keeps the patient comfortable and not suffering while "nature takes its course." Only medicines and actions to make the patient more comfortable are used or added. Dying is not hurried or delayed. Hospice is about living well during the final days of life.
Truth: The hospice team treats the unique physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient, and focuses on comfort and having the highest quality of life possible (known as comfort care).
Truth: Hospice is available to any person with a terminal illness when his or her primary care provider believes the patient has 6 months or less to live.
Truth: It is the patient and his or her family who choose hospice care, not the patient's primary care provider. The patient and his or her family need to talk to the hospice team about whether the patient would benefit from having hospice care.
Truth: Hospice is available for anyone. In fact, hospice can cost less than hospital or nursing home care. Generally, hospice services are reimbursable expenses under Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans.
Truth: Under federal law, hospice benefit does not have a time limit. The patient's primary care provider may approve admission to hospice when he or she believes the patient has 6 months or less to live.
Podcast