Skip Navigation
Babel Fish Translation Babel Fish logo Spanish Flag Russian Flag Korean Flag

Admissions Process

Talk with the Doctor

Discuss with the physician whether hospice care is appropriate for you or your relative. If your physician wants further information on hospice, it is available from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Generally, the patient's physician completes the Certification of Terminal Illness and contacts a hospice program on the patient's behalf.

This initial contact with the hospice program may also be made by the patient, the family, a friend, a social worker, clergy member, or other involved person. The decision to choose hospice belongs to the patient (or the family, in cases where the patient does not have the ability to understand the choice). If the patient has no doctor or has a doctor who is reluctant to make the hospice referral, the hospice's Medical Director may be able to certify the patient as eligible for hospice care.

Find Hospice Programs in Your Area

Choose the Right Hospice Program

  • Make an appointment to talk with the admissions staff at the hospice programs you are considering. Write down your questions in advance, and make notes about the information you receive.
  • Visit each program's in-patient facility, if there is one. Observe how clean the facility is and how staff interact with families and patients. Even if your family member plans to remain at home, these visits can tell you a great deal about the quality of the hospice program.
  • Call the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Health Care Quality at 410-402-8039, and ask for a copy of the “survey summary,” which is a report of the results of the most recent state inspection of the program.
  • Contact agencies that provide accreditation for health care organizations (Community Health Accreditation Program and Joint Commission) for a list of accredited hospice programs.

Enroll in the Program

After you have selected a hospice program, the physician who is certifying the patient to be eligible will send the Certification of Terminal Illness to the hospice admissions office. The patient and family then make an appointment for the admissions coordinator and/or nurse to visit the patient in his or her residence.

In most cases, during this visit, the nurse will examine the patient and will ask for information about the patient's health insurance. If the nurse's evaluation confirms the physician's determination that the patient is eligible for hospice care, the patient (or authorized decision-maker, if the patient is not able to understand) will be asked to sign the following forms:

The patient and family should ask questions to get a complete understanding of the services provided and out-of-pocket expenses.

Once the patient is enrolled in hospice, his or her medical condition is re-evaluated on a regular basis. If the patient is found to no longer meet the eligibility criteria, he or she may be discharged and referred to other appropriate medical care.