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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it time for hospice?

Families often tell us they wish they had considered hospice care sooner. It is a very common misconception that hospice care is only needed for the last few days of life when, in fact, hospice care can be most helpful when services are started early on and trusting relationships can be formed between families and the hospice team.

Tillery Compassionate Care is there for you when life expectancy is measured in months rather than years and when treatment for cure no longer seems appropriate. The decision to choose hospice is a very personal one. Though it is the individual’s choice, that choice directly involves the patient, their physician, family and loved ones who serve as caregivers. It is important that patients and families do not wait too long. Although end of life care may be difficult to discuss, now is the best time to learn more about hospice care and ask questions about what to expect.

Planning and foresight can greatly reduce stress when the time for hospice care comes. If you are considering hospice but are unsure if now is the time, here are some signs you can look for to help determine if it may be time to explore the option.

  • Does it seem that treatment is no longer working?
  • Are you making frequent visits to the ER or hospital?
  • Are symptoms, such as increased shortness of breath, fatigue, pain or nausea, worsening?
  • Does your loved one seem more withdrawn? Is s/he sleeping more?
  • Does s/he struggle with activities of daily living such as walking, eating, dressing, or going to the bathroom?
  • Is the family or primary caregiver feeling overwhelmed?
  • Are caregivers becoming isolated due to patient care?
  • Do family members need emotional support to help cope with the patient’s declining status?
  • Are you feeling physically and emotionally exhausted?
  • Would it help to have someone to talk to?

If hospice seems like an option, Tillery Compassionate Care will be glad to schedule a free in-home evaluation to help determine if it is time for hospice care. Call us at 704-983-4216 to ask questions or schedule a visit.

Does hospice mean giving up hope?
It does not. The goal of hospice is to ensure that patients live without pain–or experience as little as possible. We seek to keep the patient as alert as possible. Symptoms are controlled so that patients can live each day to the fullest, sharing time with loved ones with dignity.

Even though curative treatments may no longer be effective, there are, from time to time, patients who do well enough to be discharged from the hospice program. For most patients, however, the real hope of hospice is the possibility of living each moment in comfort; in an environment that ensures that the patient is treated with dignity and respect. The family should experience caring and compassion.

Who can make a referral?

Anyone can refer a patient for hospice services. The Tillery Compassionate Care team will assure that the patient’s physician agrees that hospice care is appropriate and will obtain orders for hands-on patient care. Our admissions team is available to speak to patients, family members or health care providers and helps you determine if hospice care is appropriate. Evaluations for hospice eligibility are made free of charge.

We can help determine insurance coverage for hospice care and will explain all the varying levels of service we can provide. The referral process begins with a phone call to our office at 704-983-4216.

How do I pay for hospice care?

Admission to Tillery Compassionate Care is not based on the ability to pay.

Skilled care visits, medications, supplies and medical equipment related to the patient’s hospice diagnosis are generally covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances for patients who meet the individual plan’s eligibility criteria. Arrangements are made for patients without insurance and Tillery Compassionate Care will help families apply for Medicaid and other community resources.

There is no charge for volunteers, spiritual care, counseling or bereavement services.

We help determine insurance coverage for hospice care and explain all the varying levels of service we can provide. Simply call our billing department at 704-983-4216 to speak with a representative regarding your individual insurance benefits.

How does hospice care begin?

It can begin with a phone call. Our admissions team is available to speak to patients, family members or health care providers and help you determine if hospice care is appropriate. Evaluations for hospice eligibility are free of charge. Simply call our office at 704-983-4216 .

Is hospice just for cancer patients?

No. In fact, in 2014, only 37% of patients served by Tillery Compassionate Care had a diagnosis of cancer. We serve patients with any life-limiting illness, including Alzheimer’s, ALS, lung disease, heart disease, end-stage liver or kidney disease, stroke and more. In each case, patients remain at home, when possible, and can live comfortably, be pain-free, and benefit from the care, love and concern of loved ones as they near the end of life.

Must patients be homebound to receive hospice care?

No. The way we see it, it’s all about living. Tillery Compassionate Care encourages patients to remain as active as they wish. We want patients to focus on living to the fullest, enriching the days that remain. This may include visiting loved ones or making short trips, or simply enjoying the view of the great outdoors from the back porch.

Can I still see my doctor or go to the hospital?

Yes. The patient’s physician remains very actively involved throughout the course of Hospice care. Our team provides physicians with written updates on the patient’s condition every two weeks. Patients are encouraged to continue making office visits as long as they are physically able and have a desire to do so.

Is Tillery Compassionate Care affiliated with any religious organization?

Tillery Compassionate Care serves a broad community and does not promote any particular set of beliefs, nor are we affiliated with any specific religious organization. We do offer basic spiritual care along with counseling, and we facilitate a greater or lesser degree of involvement from other clergy or religious leaders.

Are all hospice programs the same?

Most of the hospice organizations across the nation provide similar core services: skilled nursing care, home health aide and counseling. Many programs provide additional services that are reflective of the needs of the community and the size of the hospice program.

Tillery Compassionate Care, unlike other hospice agencies, offers a very robust bereavement program. We follow families for a full 13 months after the death of a loved one, and we extend those services to any member of the community who has experienced a recent loss–especially young people. We are a strong nonprofit agency that has served Stanly, Montgomery and surrounding counties since 1981, and we have earned the reputation as the preferred hospice provider in our service area.

What are the qualifications of TCC staff?

All team members meet appropriate degree and/or licensure standards of the state of North Carolina. In addition, we currently have nurses (RNs) and who have special certification in palliative care. Collectively, team members have years of experience working with and caring for dying people and their loved ones.

How long is hospice care usually needed?
This depends on many factors. Some patients are admitted when their disease has progressed to a point where they are actively dying and care is received for only a few days. Others receive hospice care for six months or more prior to death. On occasion, patients do stabilize after admission and are doing well enough medically to be discharged from hospice services. Patients and families benefit most from hospice care when it starts earlier rather than later in the course of managing a challenging illness.
Is it time for palliative care?

Families often tell us they wish they had considered palliative care sooner. Palliative care offers help with the pain and symptoms associated with a chronic or serious illness, so palliative care can be very helpful when services are started early and in partnership with your provider.

If palliative care seems like an option, Tillery Compassionate Care will be glad to schedule an evaluation to help determine if we can help. Call us at 704-983-4216 to ask questions or schedule a visit.

Who can make a referral for palliative care?

Anyone can refer a patient for palliative care services, including a healthcare provider, a family member, friend, or the patient.  The Tillery Compassionate Care team will work hand in hand with your provider – you do not need a referral.

The referral process begins with a phone call to our office at 704-983-4216.

How do I pay for palliative care?

Admission to Tillery Compassionate Care is not based on the ability to pay.

In most cases, palliative care is paid by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, or private pay. Our billing specialist can answer specific questions, but as a nonprofit organization, Tillery Compassionate Care is committed to providing care regardless of a family’s ability to pay. 

We can help determine insurance coverage for palliative care and explain all the varying levels of service we can provide. Simply call our billing department at 704-983-4216 to speak with a representative regarding your individual insurance benefits.

Tillery Compassionate Care
960 N First Street
Albemarle, NC 28001
Phone: 704-983-4216
Fax: 704.983.6662
info@tillerycompassionatecare.org