Frequently Asked Questions

About Empath Hospice Care

Does Empath Hospice Only Admit Patients with Cancer?

No. While Empath Hospice does care for patients with cancer, we also care for anyone with a life-limiting illness including, but not limited to, end-stage heart failure, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary (lung) Disease), Alzheimer’s or other dementias and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and those dealing with a failure to thrive.

What Does the Medicare Hospice Benefit Cover?

The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers nursing care, social services, medical equipment, medications used for pain and symptom control and consulting physicians’ fees relative to the terminal illness and planned by the Empath Hospice interdisciplinary team. It also covers hospitalization and inpatient care if under the hospice plan of care. The key is relativity to the terminal illness.

What’s the Difference Between Regular Medicare and Hospice Medicare?

Through the Medicare Hospice Benefit, Empath Hospice assumes full responsibility for treatment related to the terminal illness. The patient is not billed for these goods and services, and there is no deductible or co-payment.

Does Florida have a Hospice Medicare Benefit?

Yes, the state provides Medicare benefits that mirror the federal benefits.

Is Empath Hospice Affiliated with the Hemlock Society?

No. Empath Hospice’s philosophy centers around quality of life. By seeking our hospice services, patients and families indicate a desire to spend their last days together with dignity, control over their situation and with the patient as free from pain as possible. It neither hastens death nor prolongs life.

Does Empath Hospice Admit Patients with AIDS?

Yes, we care for any patient with a life-limiting illness who meet the admissions criteria for hospice: 1. Certified to have a prognosis of living six months or less 2. Seeking pain and symptom control rather than curative care 3. Living in Polk, Hardee or Highlands counties.

Must Patients Create/Have a Living Will or Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNRO) for Admission?

No. But Empath Hospice does encourage all adults to have these important conversations, create their advance directives and may provide guidance and access to resources. Empath Hospice patients are encouraged not to call 911 in the case of an emergency but to contact their hospice care team for guidance. Patients may go to the hospital if it is recommended for their situation and Empath Hospice does pay for the cost of admissions for any patient, regardless of their ability to pay, when the stay is related to their hospice diagnosis. Heroic efforts to save lives through artificial means are generally not a part of hospice care.

Is Empath Hospice a Religious Organization?

No. Hospice care by the nature of its philosophy may encompass spiritual issues. Upon request, spiritual care coordinators are available to be a part of a patient’s care team. The decision to address spiritual issues is a personal one which Empath Hospice will always respect.

What is the Difference Between Palliative and Curative Care?

Palliative care offers pain and symptom control without the aim of curing. When a patient is admitted he/she acknowledges curative measures are no longer being sought and agrees to palliative care.

Where does Empath Provide Hospice Care?

Empath Hospice provides hospice care anywhere our patients call home – private residences, care facilities, and hospital rooms. We partner with local nursing home facilities and care is provided regardless of their ability to pay. Empath Hospice provides hospice care in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties.

Can Empath Hospice Admit Patients Who Do Not Have a Physician?

Yes. Potential patients may be encouraged to see a physician through a referral service, or a patient can be admitted under the care of an Empath Hospice physician.

Are All Empath Hospice Patients Over 65 Years of Age?

No. While the majority of our patients are over 65, many are under that age, including children. Empath Hospice’s Pediatric Hospice Services includes children from birth until the early 20s. Anyone of any age who meets the hospice admissions criteria can receive hospice care.

What is Bereavement Support?

Empath Hospice offers support for hospice families following the death of their loved one for 13 months. This includes grief support groups, phone support and one-on-one counseling or other activities family members choose to participate in.

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