Hospice Care
Frequently Asked Questions

Hospice care focuses on enabling people to live their final days to the fullest, in peace and without pain. Gilchrist offers care in the place that provides the patient and family the most solace, which for many people is home. Hospice is a unique philosophy of care centered around enhancing quality of life for people with a life-limiting illness. We also provide support to caregivers and family members. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about hospice care.

Hospice Care Frequently Asked Questions

Does hospice mean giving up hope?

No, you are merely choosing to change the focus of your care to comfort and quality of life. Studies have shown that people with life-limiting illnesses who enroll in hospice care live an average of 29 days longer than those who did not. The increase is most often due to the coordination of care hospice provides and because they are no longer receiving advanced treatments that place added stress on the body. Hospice is not about giving up. It is about living your last days, weeks and months to the fullest, and taking the time to spend precious moments with loved ones.

Is hospice only for people with cancer?

No. Any individual with a life-limiting diagnosis who lives in our service area is eligible for Hospice Care. We provide care to individuals with cancer, end-stage heart and lung disease, kidney disease, ALS and other neurological diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS and other life-limiting illnesses.

Will you come to my home, nursing home, retirement facility or assisted living facility?

Yes. Gilchrist provides hospice care wherever you reside–at home, in nursing homes, retirement facilities or assisted living facilities. If more intense medical intervention is needed, individuals may be admitted to one of our inpatient centers.  We have three inpatient facilities:  Gilchrist Center Towson, Gilchrist Center Howard County or Gilchrist Center Baltimore.

When should I talk with my doctor/loved one about hospice care?

Early and often. It’s important to have courageous conversations with your family and doctor about your life-limiting diagnosis and options for care.  These conversations should occur before you are in a crisis situation, so that you may carefully consider all of your options.

Do I need to give up treatment to receive hospice care?

Most advanced medical interventions have been discontinued by the time individuals enroll in hospice. However, potentially life-prolonging interventions may be maintained based on your hospice comprehensive care plan. In addition, Gilchrist offers concurrent hospice and curative care for those who qualify.

How will I pay for hospice?

Hospice is a Medicare entitlement program. Gilchrist Hospice Care services are covered at no cost by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurers. A representative of Gilchrist Hospice Care will be able to help determine your coverage.

Covered services include:

  • In-home visits by all members of the hospice interdisciplinary team
  • Medications for pain control, symptom management and other conditions
    related to the life-limiting illness
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Bereavement support services
  • Inpatient care
  • Respite care

All of the above must be related to the life-limiting diagnosis to be covered under hospice care.

Note: Gilchrist Hospice Care will handle all the billing and payment of services and supplies as they relate to the life-limiting diagnosis.
Surprise Billing Protection: In cases when a patient is self-pay and is admitted to a Gilchrist inpatient center, or when a Gilchrist provider performs a consult to a patient in a hospital setting and Gilchrist provider does not participate with the patient’s insurance network, patients have Rights and Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills. 

I have a compliment or concern about my care. Who can I talk to?

We value your feedback. If you or your family would like to share what went well or what could be improved, please let us know. If you have any concerns regarding your care or safety, or your rights have not been respected, you should bring these concerns to the attention of a hospice team member or the manager of the hospice team.

If your concerns are not resolved, you may also contact the following organizations.

Grievances can be sent to:

To register a grievance with Gilchrist Hospice Care’s Executive Director, patients
and families may call 1.888.823.8880: TTY 1-800-735-2258.

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Office of Health Care Quality
Spring Grove Center
Bland Bryant Building
55 Wade Avenue,
Catonsville, MD. 21228

State of Maryland Office of Health Care Quality
Patients and families may call 1-800-492-6005
This service is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Normal working hours are 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
After 4:30 p.m., calls are taken by an answering machine.

Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP)
Mail: Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP)
Attn: Complaints Department
1275 K Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005
E-mail: complaints@chapinc.org
Fax: (202) 862-3419

To register a grievance with the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP), patients and families may call 800-656-9656, 24 hours a day.

Gilchrist Kids – Hospice Care Frequently Asked Questions

What is pediatric hospice?

Pediatric hospice is a specialized field of hospice that focuses care on children with life-limiting diagnoses. This care enables them to live their final days to the fullest, in peace and without pain, surrounded by their family. In addition, we also provide support to caregivers and family members.

Does choosing Gilchrist Kids mean giving up hope?

No. Gilchrist Kids is about offering comfort and support for children and their families. It is about living those last days, weeks and months to the fullest, and taking the time to spend precious moments with loved ones.

Does my child have to give up his current treatments in order to enroll in Gilchrist Kids?

No. Children on pediatric hospice are allowed to participate in what is called “concurrent care.” This means that they may continue to receive curative treatments and therapies, like chemotherapy, artificial nutrition and ventilator support. Children may continue receiving the comfort care and care coordination that is the hallmark of hospice.

Much of our time is split between home and hospital. Where will you provide care for my child?

Gilchrist Kids is uniquely positioned to provide care wherever your child is currently residing. Although most of the team’s visits will occur in your home, team members will visit the child and family in the hospital or medical clinic where the child is receiving care. In addition, Gilchrist provides respite care and acute inpatient care at Gilchrist Center Baltimore.

We love our current medical team. Will we have to stop seeing my child’s doctors?

Absolutely not. Gilchrist Kids is aware of the valuable support and guidance your medical team has provided during such a difficult time and considers that team part of ours, working together in the best interests of your child and family.

When should we consider hospice care for my child?

If the treatments for your child’s conditions are no longer restoring or maintaining his or her health and your child is experiencing significant decline, you may want to consider hospice care. For your child to be admitted to hospice, a doctor must certify that your child likely has six months or less to live.

How will I pay for pediatric hospice?

Medicaid and most private insurers will pay the cost of hospice services. Gilchrist Kids will handle all the billing and payment services as they relate to the life-limiting diagnosis. We will provide care to any eligible individual regardless of insurance or ability to pay. Through the generosity of our donors, Gilchrist Kids is able to offer financial assistance for those with no or inadequate insurance.

Gilchrist Kids provides care to all qualified individuals regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Hospice services are covered by many private health insurance plans, sponsored care and Medicaid. We will handle all the billing and payment services as they relate to the life-limiting diagnosis.

Is Hospice Right for You?

Our care navigators can answer your questions and connect you with the right Gilchrist service.