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What is Hospice?

When the focus of care turns from active treatment to comfort and quality of life near the end of life, hospices provide a type of medical care that gives seriously ill patients and their loved ones meaningful time together. Hospice is not a place. Hospice is a service that comes to the patient in the place they prefer for end-of-life care. Hospice is a full range of services that puts patients and families in control of how and where they want to live in their last days, weeks, or months together. 

Services include but are not limited to:

  • Physician services

  • Nursing services

  • Hospice Aide services

  • Respiratory Therapist services

  • Case Management services

  • Spiritual services

  • Social Worker services

  • Volunteer services

  • Bereavement services 

  • Pharmacy services

  • Durable medical equipment services

  • Supply services 

With these services, the hospice team cares for the patient's physical, mental, social, and spiritual well being.  A plan of care is created with patients and families. This plan of care is carried out by the hospice team, caregivers, families, friends, and/ or facility staff in a private residences, assisted living communities, or nursing homes to create the ideal environment and conditions for the patient. 

Physician's Choice Hospice LLC makes it easier for you to spend quality time under the most ideal or possible conditions with your loved one(s) by working closely with you to create individualized plans.

Hospice Levels of Care

Hospice care is a multilevel end-of-life care system that aims to manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for someone with a terminal illness. There are four levels of hospice care, each focusing on the specific needs of the person receiving care. One patient may experience all four levels at different time periods. Each level of care meets specific needs, and every hospice patient is unique.

4 levels of Hospice care: 

  1. Routine Care 
    Hospice staff visits the patient to monitor and manage the patient's symptoms and address any concerns or make any changes to the patient's plan of care. ​​

  2. Continuous Hospice Care
    When deemed medically necessary, hospice sends hospice personnel for 24/7 hospice care to manage patients’ acute symptoms during medical crisis and avoid hospitalization until routine services can resume.

  3. General Inpatient Hospice Care
    General inpatient hospice care typically involves the patient receiving care in a hospice facility, either because the family needs respite or because of a crisis that requires symptom management beyond what your family is capable of providing in your own home.

  4. Respite Care
    During respite care, patients spend a short time in a Medicare-certified inpatient hospice setting so their primary caregivers can take a break. Respite care hospice support helps caregivers avoid burnout and provide care more efficiently.

Caregiver with Patient

Common Questions

Does hospice mean giving up? 


Hospice care is not giving up. Instead, hospice services are there to provide comfort, improve quality of life, and help carry out the wishes of the patient.  It is designed to help terminally ill patients live their final days to the fullest. The person may continue taking medications for various medical conditions.

Is hospice a place? 


Hospice is a philosophy of care and services that can be received wherever the patient and their loved ones prefer. This includes at home, senior living or assisted facility, board and care, or skilled nursing facility if needed. This means that the family, caregivers, and/ or facility staff must work closely with the hospice team to provide care to the patient. 

Can you continue to see your primary care physician or specialists? 

 If preferred, the patient’s current primary care physician can remain their doctor while on hospice care. 

Does hospice only last for 6 months?


A patient is referred to hospice care when a doctor’s prognosis is six months or less. However, if the patient lives longer, hospice care can absolutely continue or the patient may be discharged and referred to other services, such as home health.

Do you need a doctor's referral for hospice?


One of the top facts about hospice everyone should know is that anyone can make a referral to hospice. If a family member, friend, or loved one believes a patient could benefit from hospice care, they are allowed to make a referral which will be followed by a doctor's order to qualify the patient for coverage.

Are hospice care and palliative care the same thing? 

Both palliative care and hospice care alleviate suffering and enhance the quality of life for patients and their loved ones, but hospice care is intended for patients with life-limiting diseases who are no longer pursuing curative treatment. Palliative care can begin as soon as the patient is diagnosed and may be given at the same time as treatment.

 Does entering  hospice mean giving up control over your care? 

 Hospice care is intended to increase quality of life for terminally ill patients, so it cannot be forced on anyone. This form of care is administered by a team of professionals specially trained to provide care and support to meet the patient's medical, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, so treatment varies on a case-by-case basis. The patient always has the right to request or refuse services. Hospice patients may even choose to leave hospice and return to curative treatment with the option to return later.

Is hospice for people who only have a few days or weeks to live? 


According to a 2018 report, the average length of service for Medicare patients enrolled in hospice was 76 days and the median length of service was 24 days. Hospice care is generally intended for patients whose diagnosis limits their life expectancy to no more than 6 months, but individual cases vary.

Does hospice hasten death?


Hospice care does not speed up death. In fact, those who employ hospice care may live longer than those who choose not to use hospice services.

Does hospice administer morphine/ opioids to speed up death? 

Morphine and other opioids may be prescribed by the physician in small doses to help patients feel more comfortable. Medications and doses are prescribed and adjusted based on the patient's symptoms and condition.  

Do you have to stay with hospice?

Patients have the right to leave or "revoke" hospice care at any time. If the patient's condition improves, they may choose to pursue curative treatment again. The option to reapply for hospice always remains open if they are eligible. 

Do you have to sign a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order upon entering hospice?

A DNR is one of several legal documents patients often choose to include when creating an advanced healthcare directive, but it is by no means a requirement of hospice. The goal of hospice is to provide comfort and support for the patient in whatever form they choose.


If you have any more questions, get in touch.

1535 W Merced Ave, Suite 200, 

West Covina, CA 91790 

(626) 986-4247


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