Skirball Hospice

A Program of the Los Angeles Jewish Home Providing Hospice and Palliative Care

Call 877.774.3040

FAQs including Costs

  • Q: Who benefits from hospice care?

    A: The person with the terminal illness and his or her family caregivers, and any family member who would benefit from grief support after a loss.
  • Q: Who pays for hospice services?

    A: Any resident in Skirball Hospice's area of service who needs hospice will receive care regardless of their ability to pay. Services are generally paid for through Medicare, Medi-Cal, HMOs, private health insurance, and personal payments. If these are not available, hospice care will be provided without charge to patients without resources.
  • Q: Does hospice care allow a patient to keep his or her own physician?

    A: Yes, Skirball Hospice welcomes and encourages the patient's personal physician to continue to be involved in their patient's care.
  • Q: Does Skirball Hospice have specific hours of operation?

    A: General office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, Skirball Hospice staff are on call evenings and weekends, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Q: Does Skirball Hospice care for patients in their own homes?

    A: Yes. Staff and volunteers serve patients who prefer to remain at home, along with family members and caregivers.
  • Q: If a person can't remain at home, does Skirball provide care in a hospital, assisted living or nursing home facility?

    A: Yes. Skirball Hospice professionals and volunteers work with facility staff to ensure the needs of each patient are met in any setting.
  • Q: Does Skirball Hospice accept patients who are not Jewish?

    A: Yes. Although we have unique capabilities to care for members of the Jewish community, Skirball Hospice welcomes patients of all faiths and provides sensitive care that respects all beliefs and practices.
  • Q: How can I volunteer to work with Skirball Hospice?

    A: Volunteers are an essential part of hospice work. Please visit the volunteer page of our website, or contact us at: 818.774.3040 or by e-mail at:
  • Q: What are the costs of hospice care?

    A: Typically there are no out-of-pocket expenses associated with Skirball Hospice care. Medicare and Medi-Cal provide full coverage for hospice, including medications, supplies, and equipment related to the hospice diagnosis. These must be approved and ordered through Skirball Hospice. Skirball Hospice becomes the single source of care. Primary physician services are also covered while a patient receives hospice care. Medications and treatment for conditions unrelated to the hospice diagnosis are not covered by hospice. Medicare and Medi-Cal cover these separately, according to their guidelines.
  • Q: Will my private insurance cover hospice?

    A: Most likely. Skirball Hospice is a preferred provider with several major insurance carriers. We will assist you with inquiries about your policy. Please phone us if you wish to discuss your situation with a Skirball Hospice representative.
  • Q: I belong to a local church. Do I need to see the hospice chaplain?

    A: We encourage each patient to meet each team member initially, and then determine what will be their ongoing visitation program. We serve a diverse population with many or no religious backgrounds. Our goal is to support you and ease any difficulty you might encounter. We support your involvement with your faith community and we will help you with these contacts if you wish. Ultimately, you have the final say about what spiritual care you receive, and your wishes are respected.
  • Q: How often does the doctor visit?

    A: The RN case manager is generally the "eyes and ears" for our doctors and your advocate for any need that develops. You will often see us in cell phone communication with our medical directors, one of whom is on call and available at all times. Our medical directors are available to discuss your care plan with you, and if a complication develops a home visit may be scheduled. All patients who have been with us for three months or more have a home visit from one of our doctors.
  • Q: Can I have TPN (Total Parentaral Nutrition) and transfusions while on hospice?

    A: Patients generally begin hospice when life extending treatments are no longer effective or accepted. Use of these therapies may signify that a hospice decision is too soon. We suggest you discuss this further with your private physician, as you might opt for home health service for these treatments.
  • Q: Am I given IV or tube feedings to prevent my death if I can't eat anymore? Isn't it my right to have this?

    A: We encourage our patients to eat and drink as much as they can, for as long as they can, recognizing that as a patient's condition declines, their intake may decrease or cease altogether. We don't administer food or fluids artificially, as this has been shown to often cause complications that are uncomfortable to the patient. Our recommendations are always based on maintaining patient comfort through all the end of life symptoms, adhering to medical standards for appropriate care. Decisions about artificial nutrition and hydration (tube feeding and IV fluids) are particularly difficult for loved ones and therefore need individual consideration.
  • Q: What happens when someone dies at home? Do the police get involved?

    A: No, Hospice patients are certified by their physician as having a life-limiting condition, and therefore death at home is expected. We respond to the death to support the family and help with phone calls, assuring a calm and dignified transition. Generally, there is no further involvement by the police and no 911 call should be made.
  • Q: What happens if I am hospitalized?

    A: You may decide to leave hospice care (revoke the service) at any time and resume treatment under the care of your physician. There is a revocation form that you or your representative signs which reinstates your Medicare or other insurance coverage. It is not necessary to discontinue hospice to seek treatment for an injury, such as a fall. You may also seek treatment for a medical condition that is unrelated to the hospice diagnosis. For example, a patient who is receiving hospice care for end stage lung disease might seek hospitalization for an acute appendicitis, without changing the hospice status. Always call Skirball Hospice first for any significant change in your medical condition.
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