"Hospice is not an ending but a beginning to making every moment count"

Our Purpose

To enhance the quality of life for both patient and family when quantity of life cannot be extended. When a patient has been told that they have a terminal illness and curative treatment is no longer an option, a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness often threatens the family as well as the patient. Fayette County Health Department's (FCHD) Hospice is committed to easing these burdens by addressing the individual physical, psychological and spiritual needs.

The patient enjoys the highest level of comfort possible through a program of supportive, comfort care, thus enabling the whole family to make the most of whatever time is left. Hospice is not intended to take the place of care by family members and others, but rather to support them. Emotional support for patient and family makes the process of grieving much more tolerable. Providing as much comfort as possible will enhance the quality of time a patient has left. FCHD Hospice offers choices and control over what happens to the family unit during this dying and bereavement journey.

Hospice is a special end-of-life care for individuals and families with life-limiting illnesses. It is not a place, but a philosophy of care created to help people live with dignity, comfort, and compassion that provides palliative care (comfort care), pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support and spiritual care by the hospice interdisciplinary team or group. We neither hasten nor prolong life, however at the center of hospice is the belief that each of us should be able to die pain-free with dignity, and that our families receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.

At FCHD, we offer emotional, physical, and spiritual support and assist the patient's loved ones in performing activities of daily living and coping with the emotional challenges they face. Hospice enables patients and their families to live life to its fullest in the comfort of their own homes or wherever they call home. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure responsive and timely patient contact for after hour and weekend needs.

Covered Services

The following services are covered:

  • Registered Nurse Visits
  • Hospice Aide Visits providing personal care
  • Hospice Medical Director visits/consultations
  • Social Worker
  • Medications related to the hospice diagnosis
  • Medical Equipment
  • Emotional and spiritual support for patient and family
  • Volunteer Program
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • On-call Care & Support (24 hours / 7 days a week)
  • Authorized Inpatient Care
  • Respite Care
  • Continuous Care
  • Bereavement Counseling / mailings for 13 months following death


  • Live in the service area of the Fayette County Health Department.
  • The patient must be certified with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of 6 months of less, if the disease runs its normal course.
  • The patient, family, and doctor must agree that no more curative or diagnostic treatments will be done while under hospice care.
  • The prognosis must be documented by the physician's signature on a standard hospice physician's order form.
  • Patient must have a primary caregiver who will be available 24 hours a day. They must be over 18 and must be able to arrange for 24/7 care.

Who is Eligible for Hospice?

Hospice care provided Medicare certified hospice programs are covered by Medicare Hospice Benefit (Part A). Physician services can continue to be billed through Medicare Part B.

Medicare beneficiaries who choose hospice care receive non-curative medical and support services for their terminal illness.

Medicare coverage for hospice care is available only if:

  • The patient is eligible for Medicare Part A
  • The patient's physician and the hospice Medical Director certify that the patient is terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less;
  • The patient signs a statement choosing hospice care;

Services not covered:

  • Active treatment of the terminal illness that is not for symptom management and pain control

Who pays for Hospice Care?

For those Medicare appropriate, hospice is a 100% covered Medicare/Medicaid benefit for services related to the hospice diagnosis. Fayette County Hospice accommodates most private insurance companies and offers additional payment options. In cases where no insurance is available, a financial needs assessment will be completed for those individuals. Hospice provides professional services regardless of the ability to pay.

FCHD Hospice services are provided without regard to age, race, color, creed, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, diagnosis or ability to pay.

Anyone suffering from a life-limiting, terminal disease can receive hospice services as long as they live in the area served by the FCHD Hospice.

General Guidelines: When is Hospice Appropriate

  • The person has a life-limiting prognosis with six months or less to live.
  • The patient requires frequent visits to the physician's office or emergency room.
  • The patient is becoming weaker and requires more assistance with activities of daily living.
  • A significant decline in the patient's physical or mental health status.
  • The patient's disease is progressing at a rapid rate or new diagnoses are added.
  • The patient has unintentional weight loss.
  • The patient's level of mobility has declined and required more assistance with daily living.
  • The patient has recently chosen to stop aggressive treatment options.

Common Eligible Diagnoses

Patients with any of the following illnesses or end-stage diseases may be appropriate for a hospice referral once eligibility criteria are met:

  • ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Cancer
  • Dementia / Alzheimer's disease
  • Heart Disease (i.e. myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure)
  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) disease
  • Liver Disease (i.e., cirrhosis, hepatitis)
  • Pulmonary Disease (i.e., End Stage COPD)
  • Renal Disease (i.e., acute and chronic renal failure)
  • Stroke and Coma (i.e. intracranial hemorrhage, cerebral infarction, coma)

Hospice Levels of Care

There are four levels of care provided by FCHD Hospice:

  • Routine Home Care: Over 96% of all hospice care is provided intermittently in the comfort and security of the patient's home.
  • General Inpatient Care: Utilized only in emergencies for pain control and symptom management within a specialized inpatient unit (Fayette County Hospital)
  • Respite Care: This level of short-term care is used when necessary to relieve the family members or other persons caring for the individual.
  • Continuous care: only used for a brief periods of crisis, this level of care is covered as necessary to maintain the patient in the current living condition.

Our Interdisciplinary Team Members Include:

  • Patients and Caregivers
  • Attending Physician
  • Hospice Medical Director
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Hospice Nurse
  • Hospice Aides
  • Social Workers
  • Spiritual Counselors
  • Trained Volunteers
  • Therapists
  • Hospice Director
  • Bereavement and Volunteer Coordinator
  • Pharmacies
  • Durable Medical Equipment suppliers

Hospice Referral Process

From physicians to friends, family members or neighbors, anyone can make a referral for hospice care. The earlier a person is referred, the more FCHD Hospice can do to help. Sadly, many people believe that hospice is unavailable or inappropriate until literally, the last days of a person's life. Through hospice, patients can enjoy a better quality of life. Obtaining all appropriate information about FCHD Hospice will help patients and families understand the role of hospice, should their services be elected. We will contact the prospective patient's doctor to determine the medical appropriateness for hospice services. Federal law requires that the physician estimate a life expectancy of six months or less, assuming the disease runs its normal course, to receive care. Often the doctor or the hospital discharge planners will contact our hospice after they have discussed the hospice option with the patient and family. A patient will begin hospice services once the consent form electing hospice has been signed.

How to Refer to Fayette County Hospice

  • Place a call to Fayette County Hospice at 618.283.7262 during working hours (8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.), or call 618.463.2404 after hours.
  • FCHD Hospice will contact the primary physician for an order for a consultation or care to begin.
  • A Hospice nurse will arrange a meeting with the patient / family / caregivers to explain the philosophy and obtain signatures on consent form. The consent states that the patient understands hospice care is aimed at pain relief and symptom control, rather than being a curative treatment. This initial meeting gathers information on the patient's immediate needs; medical information history; pay source; contact information; advance directives; medication and medical equipment needs.

Donations and Memorials

When families, individuals and patients name the Fayette County Health Department Hospice to receive contributions and memorials, it is a tribute not only to the patient, but to the Hospice staff who frequently leave their homes and families to provide help, comfort, and medical intervention to patients and families. Memorials and donations are greatly appreciated.

A contribution is tax deductible and may be of several methods. No individual employee may accept a gift of value for services. If the donor wishes to donate for the benefit of all employees of Hospice, this must be stated when the donation is made.