What is Hospice?

We help you manage symptoms & improve your quality of life. We can help you in your home, in an area nursing home or in the beautiful Hospicare residence. We want to support you in doing what you love and spending time with the people (or animals or places) you cherish.

Patient-Centered Care – You’re in Control

The hospice philosophy of care focuses on the patient as the center of care. Our individualized, patient- and family-centered care is based on the principles of comfort, dignity, and choice. Your Hospicare team will talk with you regularly about your symptoms and prognosis, as well as your goals for your care and how you want to spend the time you have left.

Our focus also will be on your family—spouse, partner, relatives, companions, or dear friends—and their needs. They may feel concerned, confused, or frightened about the future. Our goal is to enhance the quality of your life and theirs, every day that you live.

Our goal is to improve or maintain your quality of life for as much time as you have.

A typical weekly patient care plan may look something like this

Commonly Asked Questions

Below are answers to some the most commonly asked questions. We hope they will give you get a better understanding of what hospice care is and how it can benefit your family.

What is Hospice?

Hospice is a philosophy of care that allows you and your family to focus on quality of life. We care for people in our community who are dying by providing physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort.

This can be as straightforward as providing companionship and practical assistance or as complicated as controlling your pain, helping you talk to your family members, or working with you to resolve spiritual conflicts. Hospice treats the whole person. Hospicare strives to meet your needs – physical, emotional, social and spiritual – as well as the needs of your family and caregivers.

Where are services provided?

Hospicare comes to you and can provide services in your home, assisted living facility, skilled nursing facility, hospital, or at our 6-bed residence in Ithaca. We serve Cortland and Tompkins counties.

We all look to home as a place to rest and receive comfort. Many people nearing the end of a terminal illness want to be at home.

The same hospice care we provide at home is also available for those who reside in nursing homes, hospitals, or other care facilities. In all settings, we arrange for medications, equipment, and supplies related to the illness, and give caregivers instruction and support.

The six-bed residence, on our 11-acre site on Ithaca’s South Hill, offers private rooms and 24-hour care. It offers a place for people whose caregivers are no longer able to care for them or for those who live alone without adequate support or no longer have a home in which to live.

Our hospice team will provide you and your family with end-of-life care that addresses your physical, emotional and spiritual needs, wherever you call home.

What does hospice cost?

We believe that worrying about financial issues should not be part of your end-of-life. Hospice services can be covered by Medicare and Medicaid, many insurance companies and managed care providers. No one is refused service because of the inability to pay. The cost of medications and medical equipment related to hospice service may be covered.

When should I call hospice?

If you or a loved one has a serious or terminal illness and you’ve opted not to seek additional treatment to cure the disease, it’s time to call hospice. Read more about when to call hospice.

What if I’m still not sure?

Find out more on our FAQ page or read about when to call hospice. You may also try hospice for a few days and if you don’t find what we offer helpful, you can always change your mind.

How do I sign up?

Anyone can make a referral to hospice– a patient, a caregiver, a doctor, a family member, or a friend. Begin the referral process by calling 607-272-0212.

“Just as you are entitled to unemployment, as you are entitled to Social Security, you are entitled to a hospice benefit.”

Keisha Mason, Nursing Director of Heart and Soul Hospice.

Your Personal Team »

In addition to your current physician and family, we can add to your circle of support with:

  • Medical Director – A Board Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Physician consults with your doctor and the rest of your team and ensure optimum pain and symptom management.
  • Registered and Licensed Practical Nurses – to manage your physical care in consultation with your physicians. A nurse is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including holidays).
  • Home Health Aides – to help with personal care and everyday activities.
  • Volunteers – Read more about how our volunteers support patients here.
  • Social Workers – to determine goals of care by facilitating family meetings to address your care and comfort; offer emotional support and counseling; guidance about anticipatory needs; and assist with legal, financial or insurance matters.
  • Spiritual Care Coordinator –  to offer counsel that is respectful of your spiritual beliefs, to coordinate with the clergy of your faith community, and to provide spiritual support related to dying and grief. Read more about our spiritual care here.
  • Grief Counselors – to identify and address anticipatory grief issues that often accompany a terminal diagnosis and provide grief support and counseling for up to 13 months following a death.

The hospice team will work with you to establish a plan of care that meets your needs. A registered nurse is available on-call after hours and on weekends.

We use a team approach to respond to the variety of needs you and your family may have and to provide the best care possible.

“You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but to live until you die.”

-Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement, 1967

Working with your physician, our team develops a plan to meet your specific needs that can include:

  • Providing relief through pain and symptom control
  • Meeting your, and your family’s, emotional and spiritual needs with counseling
  • Educating you and your family about what to expect next
  • Helping to solve problems related to legal, financial, and family issues
  • Providing personal care and assistance in the home
  • Companionship, respite for caregivers, or being a comforting presence

Supporting Your Loved Ones

Our experienced counselors provide support and guidance to patients’ family and friends as they prepare for and cope with the death of someone important to them. This includes 13 months of bereavement support following the death of a hospice patient. We offer a large variety of grief support groups to help children, teens, and adults work through the process of integrating grief into their lives at their own pace.

Do you want to know more? Call us at 607-272-0212 for more information.