Our founder, Dr. Josefina Magno, was a pioneer in the 1970s. She understood that people living with serious illnesses needed substantial and sustained care. As a result of this innovation, there are currently more than 4,300 hospices nationwide, with Capital Caring being among the 10 largest, serving nearly 1,400 patients every day.

What is Hospice?

Hospice is a type of specialized medical care that provides compassionate physical, emotional, spiritual and practical support to people in the advanced stage of illness. During this time, individuals may experience shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, pain, and other distressing, life-limiting symptoms, giving rise to new and different needs, worries and concerns. Yet with hospice’s dedication to symptom relief and support, many critically ill people are better able to focus on what is important to them during this stage of life.

Delivered by an interdisciplinary team of experts, hospice care is designed to relieve pain and other symptoms and to help both patients and families improve their quality of life, typically in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes.

In fact, hospice has been shown to reduce Emergency Department visits and inpatient hospitalizations, improve quality of life and, in some cases, even extend it.

1. Connor SR, Pyenson B, Fitch K, et al. Comparing hospice and nonhospice patient survival among patients who die within a three-year window. J Pain Symptom Manag. 2007;33(3):238-246.

Hospice at Capital Caring

At Capital Caring, the services you receive will be based on your unique needs, and may include:

- A specialized team to help you: nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains, supervising physicians, nurse practitioners and others
- Around-the-clock, on-call support
- Medical equipment and supplies, such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen and more
- Medications to control symptoms and pain
- Dietary counseling, physical, occupational or speech therapy, as needed
- Short-term care in a specialized hospice facility for medically necessary reasons
- Short-term respite care (up to five days) in a facility for those times when family is either unavailable to provide care or needs a break from caregiving
- Counseling support and guidance for patients, families and caregivers through Capital - Caring’s Point of Hope team
- “Tuck- in” calls two to three times a week from trained Capital Caring volunteers to inquire about a patient’s health status, and to help ensure they have sufficient medications, equipment and supplies.

The Right Time for Hospice

A person can be in hospice for up to six months or even longer, depending upon the individual circumstances. To receive the greatest benefit, a patient should spend at least two to three months in hospice care. Surveys show that both patients and families are more satisfied the longer a patient receives hospice services.

As a result, hospice should be considered whenever someone is in the advanced stages of any of the following progressive illnesses:

- Cancer
- Heart disease, especially Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
- Dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, Lewy Body Dementia, Vascular Dementia
- Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), stroke
- Kidney failure/End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
- Lung disease including Congestive Pulmonary Obstructive Disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis

Who Pays for Hospice?

It is important to understand what hospice benefits are offered under your specific type of insurance.

- Any patient with Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) can automatically start hospice care by formally “electing” the benefit. Electing means starting this specific part of Medicare Part A. With Medicare, most services are covered at no additional cost or have a small co-payment if care is provided or arranged by your hospice.
- Those with Medicaid as their primary coverage may also elect the Medicaid Hospice Benefit. Most, but not all, state Medicaid programs cover hospice services.
- If you have other types of insurance, hospice care is usually covered. It is best to check with the individual plan or your employer to understand the details and cost of what is provided.
- If you do not have health insurance, our specialists will be happy to speak with you to give you information on what options you do have. No one is turned away for financial reasons.

Starting Hospice Care

Anyone can contact Capital Caring to request a free evaluation from a hospice specialist to see if hospice is the right option for themselves or their loved ones. An official referral is made when you and your doctor decide you would like to receive hospice care. In general, the process for starting hospice care is as follows:

- The person’s doctor and the hospice medical director confirm that the person has a serious illness and is expected to die in six months or less
- The individual selects a hospice.
- The person elects the hospice benefit according to his or her insurance coverage, and selects a hospice
- A hospice referral specialist will review the details with you and confirm that the focus of care will be on relief of distressing symptoms and adding support for you and your loved ones.

Click here to start care now, or call the 24-hour care line at 800-869-2136.

Capital Caring: We’re Here to Help

When you think you or a loved one might benefit from hospice care, we have the detailed information and support you need. We’ll help determine your hospice coverage and how to get started. Once you choose to receive hospice services, care usually begins within 24-48 hours, starting with a discussion with a hospice physician about a custom care plan for you. For more information, call 800-869-2136.

Do you have specific questions about hospice care? Visit our hospice faq’s or ask us a question below.


Do you have specific questions about hospice care? Visit our hospice faq’s or ask us a question below.


Still can’t find the information you’re looking for? Reach out to one of our care experts.


Still can’t find the information you’re looking for? Reach out to one of our care experts.