Frequently Asked Questions About Hospice

Individuals and their families often have many questions about hospice. Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here.

What is hospice care?
Hospice care is a special kind of care that an individual and their family or loved ones choose. Hospice care helps people with life-limiting illnesses live their final months in comfort and with dignity. Hospice care is special because it also helps the individual’s family and caregivers.

How can hospice care help me and my family?
Many families have little or no experience caring for someone who is dying. The hospice team can help you and your family or loved ones in many ways. For example, the hospice team provides comfort care to relieve pain and symptoms, offers emotional and spiritual support, teaches specific care techniques, arranges for necessary equipment, and answers questions you or your family may have.

Where can I receive hospice care?
Wherever you call home. For example, a private home, an assisted living center, long term care facility, hospital, group home, foster home, or an apartment.

When should I talk to my doctor about hospice?
Ask your doctor and talk with your family about your care options and services, including hospice, in the early stages of a a serious illness that can shorten your life. Hospice services can help you and your family for months, not just days.

What if I live alone or don’t have family nearby?
The hospice team can talk to you about choices for staying safe and comfortable in your home, even if you live alone. Hospice services may also be available in your region through nursing home facilities or residential hospices.

“When There’s No Family” by Paula Span

When is hospice care available to me?
The hospice team will talk to you and your family about how often you need regular visits and then schedule them. The hospice team itself does not provide 24-hour care, but can help make arrangements if that is what you need. Hospice care includes access to a registered nurse who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergency situations.

Who pays for hospice?
Hospice services are paid for by Medicare, Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, most private health insurance companies, or you may pay privately. Veterans’ benefits are also available. Your hospice program works with you and your family to identify ways to pay for services.

Paying for Hospice.


Can I choose to end hospice care once I have enrolled?
Hospice care is always the choice of you and your family. If you would like to stop hospice care services at any point, that choice is yours. You always have the choice to re-enroll at a later date if you are still eligible.

Does hospice provide any support to the family after the patient dies?
Hospice provides grief support to the family for up to 13 months following the patient’s death.

I am interested in learning more. What next?
Contact MNHPC at [email protected] and request “Choosing Hospice: A Consumer’s Guide”

Talk to your current provider and/or primary physician about hospice services and any recommendations they might have. A physician can make a referral to a hospice program. If your physician has not brought it up, you should ask for more information when you and your loved ones are ready.  You can also contact hospice providers directly or view their websites to learn more.

Find a Hospice Provider
 Resource for conversations about hospice
Printable document of frequently asked questions about hospice