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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is hospice?

A: As defined by the Hospice Foundation of America, hospice is:

  • Medical care to help someone with a terminal illness live as well as possible for as long as possible, increasing quality of life.
  • An interdisciplinary team of professionals who address physical, psychosocial, and spiritual distress focused on both the dying person and their entire family.
  • Care that addresses symptom management, coordination of care, communication and decision making, clarification of goals of care, and quality of life.
Hospice prioritizes comfort, quality of life and individual patient and family wishes by addressing physical, emotional, spiritual, and/or social needs.  Patient-directed goals are integral to care.  Hospices typically do not perform treatments that are meant to diagnose or cure an illness, but also do not provide treatments that hasten death.  Studies show that frequently, beginning hospice care lengthens the patient’s life by focusing on quality of life.

Q: Who pays for hospice?

A: Hospice is 100% covered by Medicare/Medicaid for all eligible patients.  Most commercial insurances include a hospice benefit.  The evaluation is free.

Q: How and when does hospice begin?

A: A physician order is required. The hospice nurse will meet with the patient and family and review the services hospice offers and provide the necessary information for care to begin.

Q: What are the signs it may be time for hospice?

A: Frequent hospitalizations or trips to the ER. Recurring infections or loss of appetite leading to significant weight loss and changes in body composition.

Uncontrolled pain, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, anxiety or agitation.

Decreasing alertness, withdrawal, increased sleeping or mental confusion. Inability to perform tasks of daily living, such as eating, walking, using the bathroom, bathing, or getting dressed.

Rapid decline in health over past six months, even with aggressive medical treatments. Decision to focus on quality of life, instead of aggressive treatments.

Q: What is the difference between hospice and palliative care?

A: Here is a resource from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) that explains the difference.

View Hospice vs. Palliative Care PDF

Q: Is hospice the answer?

A: A serious illness can be overwhelming for the entire family – but that’s where hospice can help. If you’re not sure whether you or your loved one might be eligible to receive hospice care, this brief questionnaire might help.

Have you or a loved one…

  1. Been hospitalized or gone to ER several times in past 6 months?
  2. Been making more frequent phone calls to your physicians?
  3. Started taking medication to lessen physical pain?
  4. Started spending most of the day in a chair or bed?
  5. Fallen several times over the past 6 months?
  6. Started needing help with one or more of the following? Bathing, dressing, eating, getting out of bed, walking
  7. Started feeling weaker or more tired?
  8. Experienced weight loss making clothes noticeably looser?
  9. Noticed a shortness of breath, even while resting?
  10. Been told by a doctor that life expectancy is limited?

If you or your loved one respond “yes” to two or more of the above questions, reach out to Appl Orchard Hospice for an informational visit to see how we can best serve you or direct you to the care you or your loved one need.

Q: What services does Appl Orchard Hospice cover?

A: We provide all of the following services:

  • Durable Medical Equipment (hospital bed, walker, oxygen, etc.)
  • Medications (related to terminal prognosis)
  • Supplies (related to terminal prognosis)
  • Nursing care
  • Home Health Aide (CNA)
  • Medical Social Worker services and assistance with needed resources
  • Spiritual counseling and support
  • Bereavement, grief and loss support
  • Physician services in the event your primary care physician is not available
  • Respite, General Inpatient, and Continuous Home Care

Q: What is the Appl Orchard Difference?

A: Appl Orchard Hospice is owned by a local Kansas City physician with strong beliefs in providing the best possible care to patients across all demographics, across the care continuum.  Taking high quality hospice care into the homes of the terminally ill in the Kansas City metro and surrounding areas is just one more way he serves the community he has served for over 30 years.  Appl Orchard Hospice prides itself by hiring individuals committed to compassionate excellence in end-of-life care and focuses on individualizing each patient’s care plan to meet their specific choices and needs.  Every person’s hospice journey is their own, we are just here to help guide and facilitate that journey to make it as comfortable as each person desires.

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Enjoy valuable, quality time with your loved one while Appl Orchard Hospice cares for their needs.