Q. My dad has terminal cancer and he is currently at home. He has no insurance, but Medicaid is pending. We're trying to get hospice or some support. What can I do?

A.

It must be a very difficult time for your family and you are to be commended in seeking out resources and support services that are available to assist your family.

Hospice is paid for through the Medicare or Medicaid Hospice Benefit and by most private insurers. If a person does not have coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, or a private insurance company, hospice will work with the family to make sure needed services are provided. In order to receive hospice services, your father’s doctor will need to make a referral to a local hospice provider. You may also contact a local hospice to find out what steps you should take.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) offers information and resources about end-of-life and hospice through its Caring Connections website. The Caregiver Resource Directory also can provide you with extensive information. We’ve created a fact sheet, Caregiving at the End of Life, that provides guidance as you care for your father.

It’s important that you continue to follow-up with his Medicaid application, as benefits will be retroactive to the date when he applied and can be used to pay any medical bills that may be incurred during the application period. CancerCare’s fact sheets, Getting to Know Your Entitlements and Sources of Financial Assistance, may also be helpful in finding resources.

If you continue to have difficulties finding hospice services for your father, please call us at 1-800-813-4673 (HOPE) to speak with an oncology social worker.