We understand that making decisions about hospice care can be confusing, difficult and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Shalem wants to remove as much uncertainty as possible for you. Below are just a few of the questions we are commonly asked. And, of course, you can call us anytime to ask your own questions and discuss your family’s personal care needs. (972) 803-4620


What is hospice care, and why did my doctor recommend it?

The United States Department of Health and Human Services describes hospice care as “bringing together a team of people with special skills—among them nurses, doctors, social workers, spiritual advisors, and trained volunteers. Everyone works together with the patient, the caregiver and/or the family to provide the medical, emotional and spiritual support needed.”

For Shalem, hospice care means helping terminally ill patients and their families gently recognize and adjust to life’s final transition. When treatment is no longer focused on curative care, a physician will recommend comfort care to help ease the family’s transition. Shalem's hospice care allows symptoms to be managed to ensure maximum comfort and dignity for the patient.

Our hospice care focuses on quality of life for the entire family. We support the patient and the caretakers with emotional, social, spiritual and physical preparation for transition to the final arc along the circle of life.

Shalem’s hospice staff also provides bereavement support to families after a patient has passed.

Who qualifies for hospice care?

The United States Department of Health and Human Services states that to “qualify for hospice care, a hospice doctor and the patient's doctor (if they have one) must certify that the patient is terminally ill, meaning they have a life expectancy of six months or less.”

These terminal illnesses include, among others, terminal heart, liver or pulmonary disease, HIV, Alzheimer’s, renal failure, and cancer.

How long do patients usually live in hospice care?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. United States Department of Health and Human Services provides that a patient must have a life expectancy of six months or less to qualify for hospice care coverage. There are a few patients who live far beyond six months in hospice care, and some patients who live less than six months.

One of the most widely shared misconceptions about hospice care is that you are “giving up” on your loved one. Hospice is a type of medical care, and it involves specialized treatments. Rather than trying to cure an illness, those treatments focus on comfort, such as managing pain and supporting family caretakers. Hospice care ensures comfort and dignity for loved ones and support for caretakers and family members.

Who pays for hospice care? Is hospice care covered by insurance?

Hospice care costs are typically paid through the Federal Medicare, Medicaid, or Veteran’s Administration (“VA”) programs, with almost all hospice care covered by Medicare. Private insurers may also provide a hospice benefit, often in coordination with government programs.

What type of insurance does Shalem Hospice Care accept?

We accept Medicare, VA, and Blue-Cross Blue-Shield, and coverage is pending for Medicaid and other private insurers. If you have any questions about insurance or costs, please give us a call at (972) 803-4620

Will my family have a dedicated hospice team?

Our hospice is structured to provide a dedicated physician, nurse, social worker and chaplain to coordinate and provide care for your family. Please keep in mind that hospice aides making day-to-day visits may vary from time to time.

Is full-time 24/7 hospice care available?

Although 24/7 on-site care is not generally necessary, the team at Shalem is always just a phone call away. We are available every day, including holidays. And when a patient has actively entered the final transition to the end of life, Shalem Hospice Care is honored to provide what is known as Continuous Care until your loved one has passed on.

What if I have questions or need help when my hospice team is not here?

Call us any time at (972) 803-4620, and we will help answer all of your questions. Emergency room visits can be emotionally, physically, and financially draining for your family, and we are here to provide peace and comfort. Usually, a simple phone call will put your family at ease. When your family chooses Shalem, we will provide phone numbers for on-call staff. These team members can help during emergencies and provide medical instructions and spiritual or emotional support.

Can my family member receive hospice care in an assisted living facility?

Yes, your loved one can receive hospice care at home, or in a facility like a nursing home or hospital. Please keep in mind that your family will need to arrange Medicare coverage options with your facility of choice first. Once these arrangements have been made, Shalem will happily provide services for your family in the facility.

Can we still see our doctor while on hospice care?

Yes, and your current doctor(s) can work together with the hospice team for collaborative comfort care.

Please keep in mind that Medicare will not cover medical expenses for a patient who has been admitted to hospice unless the treatment is strictly focused on pain relief and symptom management. As previously mentioned, medical expenses like emergency room visits must be covered by the patient and family once the patient has elected hospice care.

What is the difference between home health care and hospice care?

Whereas home health care is designed for homebound patients in need of restorative and curative treatment; hospice care is designed for comfort care during life’s final transition. Shalem’s hospice care provides support for family and caretakers, not just care for the patient, and provides follow-up bereavement care for family members. While home health care involves intermittent care until the patient is well enough to be discharged, hospice care consists of four levels of care:

Routine Care: regular home visits to manage symptoms and ensure patient comfort.
Inpatient Care: temporary hospice care in a medical facility to manage more severe symptoms or an acute condition.
Continuous Care: hours-long or around-the-clock home care during the patient’s active passing.
Respite Care: temporary inpatient care for the patient to provide a necessary caretaker break (or respite) during extenuating circumstances.

What if a patient’s condition improves while in hospice?

In very rare cases, a patient may be discharged from hospice. However, it is our recommendation to prepare for the end of life transition when a physician has recommended and a patient has chosen hospice care. If a patient’s condition does improve, Shalem Hospice Care will carefully consult with the patient, the patient’s family and the attending physician to decide the best course of action.


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