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How do I start the process of getting home care or hospice services?

Getting the process started is simple, just call VNSHS at 631.930.9375 and our nurses will contact your doctor to discuss your needs.

In order to receive services at home, your doctor must approve home care services. You must be considered in need of services that require the expertise of either a nurse or therapist and be homebound.

Under your physician’s orders, VNSHS skilled Registered Nurses (R.N.) will make an initial assessment visit to develop an individualized care plan specific to your needs. There is no fee for the initial assessment.

What does homebound mean?

Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers consider you homebound if it is difficult for you to leave your home and you typically cannot do so, your doctor believes that your health or illness could get worse if you leave your home or you need the help of another person or medical equipment such as crutches, a walker or wheelchair to leave your home.

Once the doctor approves home care or hospice, what should I expect on my first visit?

During your initial visit, the nurse will conduct an extensive assessment and develop a plan of care based on your individual needs. This may take up to two hours. You may have a physical, occupational and speech therapist, home health aide, medical social worker and registered dietitian as part of your individual home care team.

How long do home health care services typically last?

If you meet the requirements for home health care, Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurers generally cover part-time, intermittent home care nursing and other medical therapies, such as physical and occupational therapy. If the home care nursing follows a qualifying hospital stay, Part A may cover 100% of allowable charges. No two patients are alike. Your specific needs and your doctor will help determine how often your nurse, therapists and home health aides, if needed, will visit you.



Are services covered by medical insurance?

As a certified home health agency, we bill Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies. When insurance does not cover a service, fees are adjusted based on ability to pay. Your insurance benefit may vary based on the policy you hold, and, in some cases, you may have a co-pay and a deductible. Hospice services are covered through the Medicare Hospice Benefit and most private insurers.

What is the difference between personal/custodial care and skilled care?

Personal, also known as custodial, care is non-medical care that assists people with everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals and home management. This type of care if provided by VNSHS certified home health aides and is covered by insurance while a patient is receiving skilled care.

Skilled care is nursing and therapy care that can only be safely and effectively performed by, or under the supervision of, skilled professionals such as a registered nurse or licensed rehabilitative therapist. Skilled services may include nursing, wound or ostomy care, physical, occupational and speech therapy or medication management.

What is the difference between palliative care and hospice care?

Hospice and palliative care both offer comfort, pain management and symptom relief to patients with limiting illnesses. Patients may receive active curative treatment during palliative care. Hospice care is reserved for terminally ill patients when treatment is no longer curative during the last 6 months of life, assuming the disease takes its normal course.

What is hospice?

Hospice includes medical care with an emphasis on pain management and symptom relief. Hospice professionals and volunteers also address the emotional, social and spiritual needs of the patient and their loved ones. Overseeing all patient care is the hospice Medical Director who may also serve as the attending physician. Alternatively, the patient’s own physician may continue in this role, in coordination with the hospice team and its plan of care.

When is hospice care appropriate?

Hospice care is appropriate when treatment is no longer helping and symptom control is needed to keep the patient comfortable and allow them to stay in control of and enjoy the remainder of their life. The patient’s life expectancy is six months or less if the illness follows its usual path.

When is inpatient hospice appropriate?

Inpatient hospice care is appropriate when the patient’s symptoms can no longer be managed effectively at home and requires 24-hour care provided by a registered nurse and other health care professionals. VNSHS’ Hospice House, located in East Northport, is an 8-bed inpatient facility designed specifically to meet the needs of terminally ill patients and their families as they face end of life.

What are respite hospice services?

For hospice patients who do not meet the criteria for inpatient care or if a caregiver needs travel or when it is believed that the caregiver would benefit from some rest from the daily care they provide at home, short term inpatient respite care at Hospice House is available and is part of the Medicare hospice benefit.

Medicare insurance covers respite care lasting up to five days at a time. The care is available on an occasional basis, but the number of stays is unlimited.

Is there a fee for hospice services?

Medicare patients who have Original Medicare Part A, are eligible for the hospice benefit which covers 100% if they have certification from their physician that their life expectancy is no more than six months. Patients must also sign a statement saying they choose hospice care rather than curative treatment for their illness. It is also possible for patients to decline the hospice benefit after care has begun but have the right to sign up for it again at any time.  After the initial six-month period, hospice care can continue if the physician or hospice facility recertifies that the patient is terminally ill.

The majority of private insurers model their hospice insurance program after Medicare. If  a private insurer does not cover hospice care, VNSHS works with the insurer on a case by case basis to attempt to get coverage for the patient.

Contact Us

Administration and Home Care Services

505 Main Street Northport, NY 11768


631.261.7200 631.261.1985

Hospice Services

101 Laurel Road, East Northport, NY 11731


Hospice House and Respite 631.930.9399 631.261.5424
Hospice at Home 631.930.9335 631.261.5423


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