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Hospice is a program that cares for persons with life-limiting illness. The five primary differences between Hospice care and traditional home care are:

  • The goal of care is comfort rather than cure of the terminal illness.
  • The patient does not have to be homebound.
  • The unit and focus of care is the patient and the family, not just the patient.
  • Care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of health professionals and volunteers: nurses, social workers, spiritual care counselors, nursing assistants, and grief counselors.
  • Bereavement services are provided free to family members for up to a year after the patient's death.

Care is designed to address the unique physical, spiritual and emotional needs facing both the individual who is seriously ill and his or her loved ones. In addition to regularly scheduled visits, on-call nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week to help address emergent needs.

Patients are cared for in their places of residence-their homes, nursing homes, rest homes, assisted living facilities or retirement centers. Hospice allows patients and families to decide where and how they want to spend their final days, weeks, and months. Hospice of Wake County serves patients and families with an interdisciplinary team that works in partnership with attending physicians to provide access to intermittent comprehensive care.

For more information about Hospice of Wake County, call (919) 828-0890 or Contact Us.


 Who is Eligible?

  1. Hospice services are available to residents living in the Hospice of Wake County service area (Wake, Franklin, Johnston, Harnett, and Durham counties) at home, in assisted living settings or skilled nursing homes.
  2. Patients are eligible for hospice care if it has been determined by a physician they have a life expectancy of six months or less, assuming their disease follows the expected course.

Admission Criteria

Hospice offers comfort care to persons with a limited life expectancy and their families, regardless of diagnosis, age, gender, nationality, race, creed, sexual orientation, disability or ability to pay. Patients appropriate for hospice care should meet the following criteria:

  • Have a limited life expectancy with the anticipated prognosis to be six months or less as determined by the physician. May be due to cancer, dementia, stroke, renal, heart, lung, congenital defect, AIDS, or other diagnosis.
  • Have a designated attending physician who is willing to work with the hospice team. 
  • If the patient does not have a physician, Hospice of Wake County can provide one.
  • Be seeking palliative, comfort care rather than curative treatment.
  • Have a responsible caregiver or agree to develop an alternate plan of care consistent with the patient's safety needs and in compliance with hospice standards of care.
  • Do Not Resuscitate status is not required for admission to Hospice of Wake County.

Click on the following link for more information on Admission Guidelines for Non-Oncologic Patients


The Hospice interdisciplinary team ("care team") develops an individual plan of care for each patient and family.  The plan of care will include the services of professional staff and may include items as related to the hospice diagnosis.

  • Attending physician providing patient care supervision
  • Nursing services by a registered nurse licensed in the State of North Carolina, providing scheduled visits and on-call visits 24 hours a day, seven days a week 
  • Home Health Aides providing personal care services to patients on an intermittent basis
  • Social work services including psychosocial assessment of the needs of the patient/family, intermittent and ongoing counseling related to death and dying, and assistance with use of appropriate community services and resources  
  • Ancillary services including pharmacy, dietary, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc., as deemed appropriate
  • Spiritual counseling provided by a clinical chaplain including liaison with patient and/or family clergy and other community-based clergy
  • Specially trained volunteers providing a broad range of support, including emotional, practical and respite support  
  • Bereavement support services
  • Durable medical equipment, including oxygen (please call for a list of contracted vendors prior to hospital discharge)
  • Medical supplies
  • Prescription medications, biological and intravenous pain control related to the terminal illness
  • Outpatient services including short-term palliative radiation and oral chemotherapy, palliative transfusions and laboratory services
  • Ambulance transportation included in the hospice plan of care


Hospice services are covered by a variety of reimbursement sources including Medicare, Medicaid, Champus, insurance companies, and HMOs. For those patients without reimbursement or less than 100% reimbursement coverage, a sliding fee scale is available.

Every individual deserves the quality of life that he or she wants near life's end. Although we receive reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, no family is ever denied care due to lack of a payor source.

Services Provided Under Hospice Medicare/Medicaid Benefit

Since 1983, terminally ill Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries desiring comprehensive, compassionate and holistic medical care have been able to elect the Hospice Medicare or Medicaid benefit. This benefit, while not intended to cover aggressive or experimental curative therapies, provides expanded coverage for treatment of the symptoms arising from the terminal illness.

Who is Eligible for the Hospice Medicare/Medicaid Benefit?

An individual with Medicare A or Medicaid coverage who had been certified as terminally ill by the attending physician may elect the Hospice Benefit. "Terminally ill" is defined as a life expectancy of 6 months or less if the terminal illness runs its normal course.

How is the Benefit Structured?

There are two benefit periods of 90 days followed by an unlimited number of 60-day periods. At the end of each period, the patient is re-evaluated to certify that his or her condition still meets the requirements of the benefit. When an individual elects the Hospice Medicare or Medicaid Benefit, he or she waives the right to standard Medicare or Medicaid benefits for treatment of the terminal illness and related conditions. However, full coverage remains in effect for treatment of illnesses or conditions unrelated to the terminal diagnosis. The patient has the right to revoke his or her hospice election at any time.


 Referrals are accepted 7 days a week, 24 hours a day:

To make a referral to any of our services, please call our Access Department at 919-828-0890, Monday – Friday, 8am to 6pm. This number can also be called for evening and weekend referrals.  Click here for access to referral forms.

Copyright © 2013, Hospice of Wake County

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