About Hospices

Hospice is a program that provides care to terminally ill individuals that focuses on easing symptoms rather than treating disease. The emphasis of the program is to help individuals remain at home for as long as possible. The hospice program provides physical, psychological, social, and spiritual support and care for the patient and their family.

Services offered through hospice include nursing and physician services, medical social services, counseling (including nutrition and bereavement counseling), and physical and occupational therapy. In addition, hospice can provide home health aide and homemaker services, medical supplies and appliances, speech therapy, and short-term inpatient care.

Hospice is available through Medicaid, Medicare, private payment and some health insurance carriers. Referrals to hospice may come from any source, but must have physician certification that the patient has a terminal illness with a life expectancy of fewer than six months.

Hospice may also offer hospice residences. Each hospice is operated by a certified hospice agency and is residential in character and physical structure. The intent of the hospice residence program is to provide hospice access to individuals who lack a suitable home or available family, which are elements ordinarily necessary for hospice care in the patient's home.

The NYS Department of Health is responsible for monitoring the care provided by hospice. Complaints, questions or concerns about the hospice program should be directed to the Home Health Hotline (800-628-5972).