Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is hospice care?

The Hospice Foundation of America offers this explanation of hospice care:

  • Hospice is a special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments.
  • Hospice care neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Hospice staff and volunteers offer a specialized knowledge of medical care, including pain management.
  • The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient's last days by offering comfort and dignity.
  • Hospice care is provided by a team-oriented group of specially trained professionals, volunteers and family members.
  • Hospice addresses all symptoms of a disease, with a special emphasis on controlling a patient's pain and discomfort.
  • Hospice deals with the emotional, social and spiritual impact of the disease on the patient and the patient's family and friends.
  • Hospice offers a variety of bereavement and counseling services to families before and after a patient's death.

See the The Hospice Foundation of America website.

2. How did the idea of hospice care start?

The word "hospice" stems from the Latin word "hospitium" meaning guesthouse. Originally used to describe a place of shelter for weary and sick travelers returning from religious pilgrimages, the modern hospice movement began during the 1960's. Dr. Cicely Saunders, a British physician, established St. Christopher's Hospice near London which provided a team approach to professional care giving. This program was the first to use modern pain management techniques to compassionately care for the dying. The first hospice in the United States was established in New Haven, Connecticut in 1974.

3. When should one initiate hospice care?

A call to Hospice in the Pines (936-632-1514) is recommended when you or your loved one has received a terminal diagnosis from your physician. We recommend that you inform your primary care physician of your desire for hospice services.

4. What should I expect when I call Hospice in the Pines?

Hospice in the Pines is staffed by qualified professionals who are trained to provide compassionate care to the dying and their families. At the initial call, an appointment to conduct a physical assessment of the patient is scheduled. An individualized treatment plan is developed in consultation with the primary care physician.

Each patient will be asked to sign a contractual agreement with Hospice in the Pines which details respective responsibilities. This agreement is non-binding and can be revoked at any time by the patient, the primary caregiver or by power of attorney. In some instances, patients may wish to seek alternative care and return to hospice care at a later date.

5. How much does Hospice in the Pines charge for its services?

As a non-profit organization, Hospice in the Pines does NOT charge patients any out-of-pocket expenses for its patient care services. For patients with Medicare, Medicaid or private health insurance, Hospice in the Pines bills the insurance providers directly for its services and accepts insurance as payment-in-full for services provided. For patients without insurance coverage, Hospice in the Pines covers patient care costs fully without charge to the patient. No patient is denied service because of an inability to pay.

6. I know that death is different for every person, but are there some things in general that I should know?

Yes, the end of life takes varying paths. The Hospice Foundation of America provides excellent resources. For a general picture of what to expect before, during, and after the dying process, see  more information on end of life.

7. How often will someone from Hospice in the Pines visit my home?

The frequency of visits will vary depending on the plan of treatment developed by Hospice in the Pines in consultation with your primary care physician.

8. What if I don't have a primary care physician?

Hospice in the Pines has several Medical Directors on staff who are able to assist patients without a primary care physician. Call us at 936-632-1514, and we can arrange an appointment.

9. Are there services available to the patient's family?

Yes, Hospice in the Pines offers numerous services to family members, including–but not limited to–emotional and spiritual support and bereavement and counseling services both before and after death. If you have special needs, please bring these to the attention of the Hospice in the Pines staff or volunteer, and they'll work to accommodate you or your loved one.

10. Coping with grief can be challenging. How can Hospice in the Pines help?

Hospice in the Pines offers grief counseling to family members who have lost a loved one. Counseling services are available for a full 13 months following death. For more information on coping with grief, we invite you to visit the Hospice Foundation of America's information on grief counseling.