"Please know how much we appreciate Serenity’s compassion, helpfulness and concerns while our loved one was on Hospice."
~ Shug Family
Frequently Asked Questions

What is Hospice?
Hospice is a special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure- oriented treatments. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient's last days by offering comfort and dignity.

Hospice staff and volunteers offer a specialized knowledge of medical care, including pain management.

How does Hospice work?
Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. Hospice staff is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient's individual needs for pain management and symptom control. See our Services page to learn more.

What Services are provided?
Among its major responsibilities, the interdisciplinary hospice team:

  • Manages the patient's pain and symptoms
  • Assists the patient with the emotional, psychosocial and spiritual support
  • Provides needed medications, medical supplies and equipment
  • Guides the family on how to care for the patient
  • Delivers special services like speech and physical therapy when needed
  • Makes short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time
  • Provides bereavement care and counseling to family and friends

Who pays for Hospice?
Hospice is covered under Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances. These services pay 100% of all medications and services related to the hospice patient's conditions. Regardless of ability to pay, please contact us.

Hospice care is a covered benefit under Medicare for patients with a prognosis of six months or less. A patient can remain in hospice care beyond six months if a physician re-certifies that the patient is terminally ill.

The benefit covers all services, medications and equipment related to the illness. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Physician services
  • Nursing services
  • Home health aides
  • Medical appliances and supplies
  • Spiritual, dietary and other counseling
  • Continuous care during crisis periods
  • Trained volunteers
  • Bereavement services

Who can call for Hospice Care?
Anyone interested in learning about the benefits can call Serenity Hospice at 866.616.1201. By referring someone, or yourself, there is no obligation to accept the hospice benefit, only to educate yourself on our company services and benefits available. The steps in the referral process are as follows:

  1. Call 866.616.1201 for information: You control the conversation by asking questions, gathering information, and providing as much information as you feel comfortable.
  2. Schedule a time to meet: Schedule a time to meet with our Serenity staff to gain a better understanding of exactly what Serenity Hospice offers and educate the family on options available.
  3. Involve the primary physician: Ask for Serenity Hospice to involve your current physician on this process. We will contact your physician and explain the information we’ve given the patient and proceed to admission.

To make a referral to Serenity Hospice gain more information on the hospice services we offer, please contact Nancy Distell, Community Liaison at 866.616.1201 or 765.446.9100.

Why should I choose Serenity Hospice?
Although all hospices specialize in care for the terminally ill, the quality of care and extent of services can differ widely among hospice care providers. Many hospices operate as part of large, for-profit healthcare systems, while others operate as not-for-profit organizations. In most cases, patients have a right to choose which hospice program they wish to utilize. In most cases, you have a choice of which hospice program to use. Serenity Hospice offers comprehensive services to adults and children with advanced illness throughout 18 counties in Indiana.

Hospice care in nursing facilities
Serenity Hospice provides services in nursing facilities throughout the 18 counties we serve. Hospice in a nursing facility combines the best of two systems of care and enhances the patient's quality of life.

For example, patients can receive additional specialized care and attention from nurses; aides with special attention to needs such as pain control, skin care and nutritional issues; emotional, social and spiritual support. Perhaps best of all, patients are made to feel at home in the nursing facility and are reassured that they remain an important and active part of their families and communities.

Deciding when it’s time for Hospice Care
Hundreds of times each year, patients and families tell us: "We wish we'd entered the hospice program sooner." It is a common misconception that hospice care is only for the last few days of life when, in fact, patients and families can benefit most when they have hospice for the several months during this stage in life.

Who benefits the most from Hospice Care?
Hospice is beneficial for anyone of any age with a life-limiting disease. Though many patients have cancer, Serenity Hospice also has great expertise in providing comfort and symptom control for patients in the final stages of lung, heart and kidney disease, Alzheimer's and other types of dementias, stroke, neuromuscular diseases, and many other illnesses.

When is someone “eligible” for Hospice Care?
Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans provide coverage for hospice care when physicians predict a patient has six months, or less, to live and curative treatment is no longer being sought. Please understand that the six-month prognosis is merely a guideline. Hospice re-evaluates patients every sixty days and, as long as their conditions continue to decline, they are re-certified for hospice coverage for as long as they live.

Will my doctors tell me when it’s time for Hospice Care?
Not always. Many physicians hesitate to broach the subject of hospice because they don't want to destroy your hope. Frequently, they will continue to pursue treatment because they assume that's what you want. In other cases, such as congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it is difficult for them to predict the rate of a patient's decline. When a doctor does mention hospice, even casually, you should discuss it immediately. In fact, he or she may actually be relieved if you bring up the subject. It is important that you understand the benefits of curative vs. comfort care, and that you and your doctor share the same goals for maintaining quality of life.

What are signs that a person may be ready for Hospice Care?

  • An increase in pain, nausea, breathing distress or other symptoms
  • Repeated hospitalizations or trips to the emergency room
  • Failure to "bounce back" after medical set-backs occur
  • Increasing assistance needed for walking, eating, bathing, dressing and/or using the restroom
  • Decreasing alertness--patient is emotionally withdrawn, sleeping more or having increased difficulty with comprehension

What are signs that our family could benefit from Hospice Care?

  • You are physically and/or emotionally exhausted from caring for your loved one
  • Your family is feeling isolated because of care-giving demands or the uncertainties you feel about your loved one's future
  • The patient or members of your family appear to need emotional support to cope with the impending death
  • You are overwhelmed by the myriad of physical, financial, emotional, and spiritual concerns arising because of the illness

Can a patient stop receiving Hospice Care?
Yes. Patients always have the right to choose what type of care they receive. If they and their physicians decide to try another approach, we will assist them in making that transition.

Can we call Serenity Hospice even if we don’t think it is “time”?
Absolutely. An important part of our mission is providing guidance to families about any end-of-life care issue, whether or not they're on our program. You don't need a physician referral to call us for information. if it appears that hospice care would be beneficial, we will--with your permission--contact your doctor to discuss it.

What if the family cannot care for the patient at home?
Family members are usually able to safely care for a hospice patient at home with the help of the hospice team. If the patient wishes to remain at home and the family desires more care than the visiting hospice staff can provide, we can offer a list of agencies providing private duty or companion care at home. Although Hospice does not cover these services, Serenity Hospice can provide a list of extended care facilities in the area.

What if the patient lives alone?
In the early weeks of care, it may not be necessary for someone to be with the patient all of the time. Many patients are physically and mentally capable of living alone and can manage with intermittent visits by the hospice team. As the illness progresses, the patient may require more assistance. The hospice staff assesses the patient's needs on an ongoing basis and makes appropriate recommendations.