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Hospice Care — Truth vs. Misconceptions

Gateway Hospice in Pittsburgh & Canonsburg, PA, is dedicated to providing our patients, families, and customers with accurate and timely information regarding end-of-life services. There are many misconceptions about what Hospice is and does. Our personal mission is to ensure that our team educates our community and healthcare professionals in fully understanding and embracing all that hospice services can offer.

Is it true that in order to qualify for Hospice services, the patient must have only six months left to live?

Precise prediction of a patient’s life expectancy is difficult, almost impossible. The Medicare program recognizes that those with a terminal illness do not have predictable courses. Therefore, the hospice benefit can be made available for extended periods of time beyond the six months.

Providing that there is the appropriate certification and overall clinical information at the start of each coverage period. Eligibility guidelines Local Medical Review Policies) are designed to assist in making appropriate clinical decisions about ongoing end-of-life services. Gateway Hospice offers informational visits and consultations/ assessments as a courtesy to further assist the individual in making well-informed decisions.

Is it true that hospice patients only have a few days left?

Late admissions to Hospice occur due to many factors, including lack of education and misunderstanding by patients, families, and healthcare professionals. Lale admissions create many missed or delayed opportunities to assist in symptom control and resolution of emotional and spiritual issues, which can significantly impact the patient and family’s well-being and comfort. As a result, Gateway Hospice assists healthcare professionals and the community we serve to understand better the benefits of early interaction with their hospice team.

Is it true that when the patient or family elects HOSPICE, the Attending Physician is no longer involved in the patient's plan of care and medical treatment?

Gateway Hospice differs from many health care agencies. We are dedicated to direct communication with each attending physician to better meet their individual needs and desires regarding communication and updates regarding their patient.

Is Hospice a place where patients are sent?

Hospice is a comprehensive service-not a place. Hospice provides services to wherever the patient calls home, including assisted living, nursing facilities and hospital settings. The hospice team visits the patient regardless of setting.

Can patients on IV’s or feeding tubes be considered for hospice services?

There are many situations where IV’s and feeding tubes are appropriate and not an issue for deciding on hospice. Gateway Hospice assists in fully assessing the potential hospice needs of each patient and our team can assist the patient and family in better understanding eligibility.

Is it true that an individual must have a “DO NOT RESUSCITATE ORDER OR A LIVING WILL” to receive Hospice care?

It is not required to have signed a DNR/DNI to qualify for hospice. Gateway Hospice provides resources and ongoing education to the patient and family to assist in making the appropriate decision for the individual.

Is Hospice care just for cancer patients?

ANY diagnosis or disease process can qualify an individual for hospice services. Medicare guidelines (LMRP’S) are available to assist in determining appropriateness. An individual can qualify for Hospice regardless of their disease process and diagnosis.

Is it true that Hospice does not medically treat or take care of the patient when medically needed?

The hospice focus is on comfort, not cure. Hospice is available to assist the attending physician and patient in managing all clinical and emotional issues and symptoms related to the individual disease process. Emphasis is on quality of remaining life versus curative or invasive treatments that the patient and family do not want.

For more information about whether hospice is the right choice for yourself or a loved one, or to schedule an appointment with our team, contact one of our locations today. We look forward to serving you and providing you with the highest quality care.

Pittsburgh Location

9380 McKnight Road,
Arcadia Court Suite 201,
Pittsburgh, PA 15237


Phone: 412-536-2020
Fax: 412-536-2021

Available 24/7
Canonsburg Location

601 Technology Dr.  Suite 120
Canonsburg, PA 15317


Phone: 412-536-2020
Fax: 412-536-2021

Available 24/7