Frequently Asked Questions

Visiting Nurse has set the standard for patient care since its founding in 1888. We have been providing hospice services since 1983 and we were the first agency in the region to provide this specialized care. Our not-for-profit, community-based, patient-centered care is available in eight counties in Northeast Indiana. Our palliative and hospice care is available to anyone facing serious illness.


Palliative Care

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    How do I know if palliative care is right for me?

    Palliative care is appropriate at any stage of a serious illness. You can also have this type of care at the same time as treatment meant to cure you.

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    What will the palliative care team do?

    We will work together with your other doctors to manage your symptoms and distress, help you better understand your disease and diagnosis, help you clarify your goals of treatment and your options, support your ability to cope with your illness, assist you in making medical decisions and coordinate with your other doctors. With Palliative Home Care, our team of nurses and home health aides provide an extra level of care while you are homebound due to your illness.

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    Will my insurance cover palliative care?

    Most insurance plans cover all or part of palliative care, just as with other hospital and medical services. This is also true of Medicare and Medicaid. If costs concern you, a social worker or financial consultant from the palliative care team can help you with payment options.

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    Do I have to give up my own doctor?

    No. The palliative care team provides an extra layer of support and works in partnership with your primary doctor.

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    Can I have curative treatment together with palliative care?

    Yes, absolutely. Your treatment choices are up to you. You can have palliative care at the same time as treatment meant to cure you.


Hospice Care

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    What is hospice?

    Hospice care provides comfort and support to patients with advanced illness and their families. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of life for patients by addressing each patient’s physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs. Considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness, hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to deliver expert medical care, manage pain, and support emotional and spiritual needs expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes.

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    Is hospice for cancer only?

    No. It is care for any life-limiting illness, including but not limited to cancer, COPD, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, ALS, cardiac/heart disease, lung disease, renal failure, liver disease, and many others.

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    When is it appropriate to seek help?

    When the patient is no longer seeking curative treatment and comfort is the primary goal.

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    Who is appropriate for hospice?

    Hospice care is available for those patients with a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease process runs its normal course. The earlier care begins, the greater the benefits to the entire family.

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    Who can refer someone to hospice?

    Referrals are accepted from the patient, a family member, the patient’s physician, a hospital, a long-term care or assisted-living facility, clergy, a friend or a community agency or other referral source.

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    How soon can hospice care begin?

    Once the call is made, admission can be the same day.

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    How is hospice paid for?

    Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance pays for hospice care. Those who do not have the ability to pay for their care can still receive services because of the generous support of donors in our community who support Visiting Nurse.

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    Can I still see my own doctor?

    Hospice physicians work closely with each patient’s personal physicians to determine a hospice plan of care to meet each patient’s individual needs.

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    What if I change my mind about hospice?

    If a person changes his or her mind about hospice care, he or she can be discharged from hospice and seek curative treatment again. Patients do not lose their Medicare benefits if they are discharged from hospice care to resume curative care.

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    What services does hospice cover?

    The hospice benefit covers all care related to a patient’s terminal diagnosis. This includes routine home visits by a nurse, social worker, chaplain and certified nursing assistant. Other members of the hospice care team include a dietitian, volunteer, pharmacist and hospice medical director. A physical and occupational therapist may be consulted. If appropriate, the hospice benefit also covers all medications related to the terminal diagnosis are covered, along with medical supplies, equipment and some personal care items. Nutritional supplements as directed by the dietician or physician are also covered. While not all hospices offer integrative therapies, Visiting Nurse provides music therapy, massage and animal activity visits.

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    Does Visiting Nurse provide support to the family after a loved one dies?

    Trained grief counselors provide individual counseling, group sessions and other support services at the Peggy F. Murphy Community Grief Center, located on the Visiting Nurse campus, and at locations throughout the community.

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    Does Visiting Nurse serve veterans?

    Visiting Nurse is proud to serve veterans. Approximately 25 percent of our patients are veterans of the armed forces. We are a Level IV Partner (the highest level possible) in the national “We Honor Veterans” program, and our trained veteran volunteers are available to meet with our veteran patients to share their unique experiences.