Ingalls Hospice Care

A team approach

The term "hospice" can be traced back to medieval times when it referred to a place of shelter and rest for weary or ill travelers on a long journey. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing, and is intended for individuals facing a life-limiting illness or injury.

At the center of hospice care is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.

At Ingalls, our Hospice team strives to improve the quality of a person's last days, weeks or months. Our goal is to help our patients live out each and every day to the best of their ability and keep them in the comfort of their own home, if at all possible.

Ingalls Hospice care offers a team-oriented approach that assists patients and their families with the physical, emotional, social, spiritual and grief needs they may have as we go through this journey together.

What services are provided?

Our interdisciplinary hospice team

  • Manages the patient's pain and symptoms;
  • Assists the patient with the emotional, physical, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of dying;
  • Provides needed drugs, medical supplies, and equipment;
  • Coaches the family on how to care for the patient;
  • Delivers special services like speech and physical therapy when needed;
  • Makes short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time; and
  • Provides bereavement care and counseling to surviving family and friends.


Those eligible for hospice care include patients of any age who have an end-stage disease process, generally with a life expectancy of six months or less. Medicare, Medicaid, most HMO's and private insurance generally cover all hospice expenses. No patient will ever be denied hospice care because of an inability to pay. Patients and their families have the option of canceling hospice care at any time if a condition improves, or if other choices are desired.

Your Care Team

Ingalls Hospice patients are cared for by a multidisciplinary team of skilled, compassionate professionals committed to providing the best possible care.

They include:

  • The patient's primary care physician
  • Hospice physician or medical director
  • Registered nurses
  • Hospice aides
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapists
  • Music therapist
  • Social Worker
  • Spiritual counselors
  • Volunteers

Ingalls Inpatient Hospice Option

For patients unable to be cared for at home, our inpatient Hospice Unit delivers compassionate care in comfortable, home-like surroundings for both patient and family. The unit is located at our main hospital campus and includes 12 rooms with private bathrooms. Other amenities include:

  • Mini-fridge
  • Recliner
  • Desk
  • Television
  • Sofa bed for family use
  • Unrestricted visiting hours
  • Visitation by a family pet

Medicare has set specific guidelines for levels of care to qualify for an admission to an inpatient hospice setting, which most private insurance companies follow. Some examples of approved inpatient placement may include:

  • Pain control or medication adjustment
  • Acute or chronic symptom management that cannot be provided in other settings
  • Short-term stay to stabilize a crisis situation
  • Stabilizing treatment prior to discharge home

Respite care is another Medicare-approved level of hospice care that may be provided in the inpatient setting. The respite benefit provides up to five consecutive days of inpatient care to provide relief to those at home who may require a break from the duties of caring for a loved one with an irreversible illness.

Bereavement Support

Ingalls Hospice extends bereavement support to family and friends for up to 13 months after the end of hospice care. Bereavement support groups are also open to anyone in the community who has suffered a loss.

For information on Bereavement Support, please call 708.331.1360.

Volunteer Opportunities

We value our ability to help the South Suburban community with Ingalls Hospice/Home Care services. In return, our neighbors help us by donating their time.

Our dedicated staff of volunteers offers invaluable assistance by:

  • Providing support to patients and families in their homes and inpatient units
  • Running light errands
  • Filing, answering phones and clerical duties
  • Preparing bereavement mailings and contributing bereavement support
  • Staffing information desks

If you would like to join our team, please call 708.331.1360.

Common Misconceptions Regarding Hospice

Hospice is care designed for patients with a life-limiting illness. Hospice is not where you go to die, rather hospice professionals are trained to assist patients in living their lives fully, completely, and without pain until the end of their lives.

Hospice patients and families receive care for an unlimited amount of time, depending upon the course of the illness. There is no fixed limit on the amount of time a patient may continue to receive hospice services. In most cases, patients in hospice care have a life expectancy of six months or less.

Medicare beneficiaries pay very little or nothing for hospice care. For those ineligible for Medicare, most insurance plans, HMO's, and managed care plans also cover hospice care.

Hospice care is provided wherever the patient may be: in their own home or a family member's, a nursing home, or an assisted living facility. Hospice is also provided in in-patient units, VA Hospitals, and some correctional facilities.

Family members are encouraged, supported, and trained by hospice professionals to care for their loved ones. For extra support, Ingalls Hospice staff is on call to the patient and their families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Hospice care is for patients with any type of life-limiting illness, including cancer, dementia, heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, kidney disease, stroke and more. In fact, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, more than two-thirds of patients who seek hospice care have a disease other than cancer.

Hospice is for anyone facing a life-limiting illness, regardless of age.

Bereavement services and grief support are available to family members for up to 13 months after the death of a patient.

Hospice Provides What Americans Want at the End of Life

The hospice philosophy holds that end-of-life care should emphasize quality of life. A nationwide Gallup survey conducted for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization produced five key outcomes:

  1. Nine out of 10 adults would prefer to be cared for at home rather than in a hospital or nursing home if diagnosed with a terminal illness. Hospice provides the option of being cared for at a place the patient calls home: 96% of hospice care is provided in the patient's home or place they call home.
  2. An overwhelming majority of adults said they would be interested in the comprehensive program of care at home that hospice programs provide. Yet most Americans know little or nothing about their eligibility for or availability of hospice.
  3. When asked to name their greatest fear associated with death, respondents most cited "being a burden to family and friends," followed by "pain" and "lack of control." Addressing the full range of physical and psychological needs of the patient and his or her family in an interdisciplinary way is what makes hospice care so special.
  4. 90% of adults believe it is the family's responsibility to care for the dying. Hospice provides families with the support needed to keep their loved one at home, and can take over fully to give the caretaker short "respite" periods.
  5. Most adults believe it would take a year or more to adjust to the death of a loved one. However, only 10% of adults have ever participated in a bereavement program or grief counseling following the death of a loved one.
  6. Hospice programs offer 13 months of grief counseling for the surviving family and friends.

The Medicare Hospice Benefit

The Medicare Hospice Benefit, initiated in 1983, is covered under Medicare Part A (hospital insurance). Medicare beneficiaries who choose hospice care receive a full scope of non-curative medical and support services for their terminal illness. Hospice care also supports the family and loved ones of the patient through a variety of services, enhancing the value of the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

The Medicare Hospice Benefit Provides for:

  • Physician services
  • Nursing Care
  • Medical appliances and supplies
  • Drugs for symptom management and pain relief
  • Hospice aide services
  • Counseling
  • Social work service
  • Spiritual care
  • Volunteer participation
  • Bereavement services
  • Therapy services

Who is eligible?

Medicare has three key eligibility criteria:

  1. The patient's doctor and the hospice medical director use their best clinical judgment to certify that the patient is terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less, if the disease runs its normal course.
  2. The patient chooses to receive hospice care rather than curative treatments for his or her illness.
  3. The patient enrolls in a Medicare-approved hospice program.
Success Stories
  • Ingalls Hospice Offers Comfort, Care and Support

    Ingalls Hospice Offers Comfort, Care and Support

Classes & Events

Bereavement Group

“Hope, Help & Healing”...this group is designed to provide both education and support for adults who have experienced a significant loss.

Other Resources