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Frequently Asked Questions

If you are seeking home health care or hospice services, it’s natural to have questions or feel nervous. We’re here to answer all of your questions and help you every step of the way. If you don’t see the answer to your question below, please contact us.

General Questions

What services do you offer?

Review our array of effective home health, hospice and rehabilitation services here.

I live in an out-of-the-way place. Does VNH serve my area?

VNH caregivers regularly visit people in more than 140 towns in southeastern Vermont and southwestern New Hampshire. Review our map to see if we cover your area.

Is my health care information secure with you?

VNH is committed to protecting your privacy, in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). We will never sell or share your personal health care information with any unauthorized party.

Home Health Care Questions

Who uses home health care?

People of all ages use home health care. This includes those who are able to be discharged from a hospital or nursing home but need additional care, people who have short-term health needs, and people who need assistance due to age or disability to remain at home.

Who pays for care?

Medicare and many other insurance providers cover all or a portion of care provided by certified home health care agencies. Check with your individual insurance carrier for your plan.

How do I request home health services?

A patient, family member, or physician can request service. However, Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance providers require a physician’s prescription for certified home health care. If a physician does not prescribe home health care, but the individual still desires services, the home health agency can suggest a plan of care to meet a wide variety of needs and budgets.

What is the difference between home health care and private duty care?

Certified home health care agencies, like VNH, provide home care – also referred to as “skilled care” – that complies with Medicare and Medicaid regulations. Private duty – or private pay – agencies offer services including medical and non-medical care, such as assistance with shopping, laundry, meals, and companionship.

Who is part of the home health care team?

The certified home health care team provides care and education to help patients and families to recover and manage the condition after care ends. The team includes physicians, nurses, home health aides, medical social workers, and therapists who coordinate care based on your needs.

What should I expect once home health care service is ordered?

Once the physician prescribes home health care, your home health agency calls to schedule an appointment to arrange services for your plan of care. Care generally is provided over 60 days, with a range of visits from members of the care team depending on your needs. Services might include care for a surgical wound, physical, occupational, or speech therapy, intravenous therapy, medication management, patient and caregiver education, counseling to address emotional needs and to link patients and families with additional resources, or monitoring of serious illness or unstable health status.

Hospice Questions

What is hospice?

Hospice provides specialized medical care, symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support for people in the last stages of a terminal illness and their families.

When is hospice right for me?

When medical treatments have been exhausted and the burden of treatment outweighs the benefits, hospice can help to bring comfort and quality of life to you and your family. Hospice allows you to receive medical care with a focus on comfort rather than cure, and provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Do I have to wait for my physician to raise the possibility of hospice or can I raise it first?

Anyone can contact VNH Hospice. The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other health care professionals, clergy, or friends. Call VNH Hospice any time to learn more about hospice.

Can I receive hospice care on a trial basis?

Yes. It is a benefit you can revoke at any time without any penalty.

Is hospice care covered by insurance?

Hospice care is covered by Medicare nationwide, by Medicaid in some states – including Vermont and New Hampshire – and by most private health insurance policies. VNH Hospice provides care for all, regardless of ability to pay.

Isn’t hospice the same thing as “giving up”?

No. While the focus of hospice is care rather than cure, hospice is not intended for the last days of life only. In fact, hospice care can be most effective for patients and families in the final months of life when patients and families can benefit from the range of services hospice provides.

Where is hospice care delivered?

Most hospice services are delivered wherever the patient calls “home,” whether in his or her personal residence, in a nursing home, or in an assisted living facility.

Does hospice provide any help to the family after the patient dies?

VNH Hospice provides continuing contact and support for family and friends for at least a year following the death of a loved one. In addition, VNH Hospice provides community bereavement and support groups for those who have experienced the death of a family member, a friend, or a loved one.