What is Hospice Care?

Hat Hospice Care

  • Comprehensive, compassionate care for people with a life-limiting illness and a prognosis of 6 months or less
  • Expert symptom management and emotional/spiritual support tailored by the hospice team to meet the Veteran’s needs and wishes
  • Support for Veteran’s family and friends, including assistance with resources and benefits, and bereavement support

 What are the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) hospice policies?

  • Hospice is part of every enrolled Veteran’s Uniform Medical Benefits Package
  • VA must offer or provide needed hospice services for all enrolled Veterans meeting hospice criteria
  • Veterans who are receiving hospice care do not give up any of their other VA benefits

 Who provides hospice services?

  • Many VA Medical Centers can provide inpatient hospice services
  • Community hospices can provide hospice services in the Veteran’s own home or wherever he or she is living

 Who pays for hospice services for Veterans?

  • Department of Veterans Affairs under the VA hospice benefit for Veterans receiving care in a VA facility or from a contracted hospice agency
  • Medicare and Medicaid (where available) under the Medicare or Medicaid Hospice Benefit
  • Private insurance companies

 What services are covered by hospice agencies in the community?

  • Home visits by members of an interdisciplinary team (doctor, nurse, social worker, chaplain, aides, therapists)
  • Medications, medical equipment and supplies related to the terminal illness
  • On-call support 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Inpatient care for acute symptom control
  • Continuous Care instead of inpatient care for patients with acute symptoms that can be managed at home
  • Respite care to relieve the caregiver
  • Grief and bereavement support

 How can Veterans get hospice services paid for by VA?

  • You must be enrolled in VA for healthcare benefits and approved for hospice care by a VA physician
  • You must be diagnosed with a life-limiting illness with an estimated prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course
  • You must seek care that is focused on comfort rather than cure
  • You must want hospice care
  • VA physician determines appropriateness and approves referral for hospice care

 Enrolling in VA

  • VA determines eligibility for VA benefits through the enrollment process. If you are not already enrolled in VA, you will need your discharge papers (DD-214).  If you don’t have a DD-214, you can ask your Veterans Service Officer or VA Enrollment Officer for help or request your records online at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/index.html.
  • Veterans must be enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration to receive VA healthcare benefits

 For more information contact:

  • Your VA Primary Care Provider
  • Palliative Care Consult Team at your local VA facility
  • We Honor Veterans (www.wehonorveterans.org)

  What is Palliative Care?