To make a referral or to inquire about our services: 615-250-1348

A step by step guide to getting started
with Alive Hospice

Whether you know you need hospice care or you just need to know more, we’re here to answer questions and provide support.

1. Call

If you have an emergent need, please call us at 615-327-1085.

2. Complete a referral

Anyone can make a referral. Once the referral has been completed, you can expect to hear back from us within one business day. In order to be admitted, the patient must have a physician’s order. We are more than happy to reach out to the patient’s health care provider in order to get the necessary information to initiate services.

3. Have an initial visit

At this visit, the patient and caregivers will work with our admissions team to complete an assessment, determine a place of care, order medications and begin the patient’s personalized plan of care (POC).

Frequently Asked Questions

Entering Hospice

When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made, and who should make it?

At any time during a life-limiting illness, it's appropriate to discuss all of a patient's care options, including hospice. By law, the decision belongs to the patient. Understandably, most people are uncomfortable with the idea of stopping aggressive efforts to "beat" the disease. Hospice staff members are highly sensitive to these concerns and always available to discuss them with the patient and family.

Will I still be able to make my own decisions regarding my care?

Yes. You and your family are in charge of your care.

What if our physician doesn't know about hospice?

Most physicians know about 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. If your physician wants more information about hospice, it is available from the National Council of Hospice Professionals Physician Section, medical societies, state hospice organizations, or the National Hospice Helpline (1-800-658-8898). In addition, physicians and all others can also obtain information on hospice from the American Cancer Society, the American Association of Retired Persons, and the Social Security Administration.

What does the hospice admission process involve?

One of the first things the hospice program will do is contact the patient's physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for this patient at this time. (Most hospices have medical staff available to help patients who have no physician.) The patient will be asked to sign consent and insurance forms. These are similar to the forms patients sign when they enter a hospital.

The hospice election form says that the patient understands that the care is palliative (meaning that is aimed at pain relief and symptom control) rather than curative. It also outlines the services available. The form Medicare patients sign also tells how electing the Medicare hospice benefit affects other Medicare coverage.

Is hospice affiliated with any religious organization?

No. While some churches and religious groups have started hospices (sometimes in connection with their hospitals), these hospices serve a broad community and do not require patients to adhere to any particular set of beliefs.

Will my advance directives be honored by Alive Hospice?

Yes. It is your right to choose your advance directives. We do not require a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order, and we will review all options with you.

Do you provide any advance directives resources?

Yes. Please see

May I still use my regular doctor?

Yes. We encourage you to continue seeing your primary care physician. Our team continues to communicate with your primary care physician while you receive our care.

Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?

Certainly. If the patient's condition improves and the disease seems to be in remission, patients can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy or go on with their daily life. If the discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare and most private insurance will allow additional coverage for this purpose.

What will happen if I outlive my prognosis?

We continue to provide the same care for you as long as you remain hospice eligible. You will not be given less service regardless of how long you are in our care, and your costs will remain the same.

Does hospice do anything to make death come sooner?

Hospice neither hastens nor postpones dying. Just as doctors and midwives lend support and expertise during the time of childbirth, hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process.

Pain Management

How does hospice manage pain?

Hospice believes that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain, so it can address each. Hospice nurses and doctors are up to date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. In addition, physical and occupational therapists can assist patients to be as mobile and self-sufficient as they wish, and they are often joined by specialists schooled in music therapy, art therapy, massage and diet counseling.

Finally, various counselors, including clergy, are available to assist family members as well as patients.

What is hospice's success rate in battling pain?

Very high. Using some combination of medications, counseling and therapies, most patients can attain a level of comfort that is acceptable to them.

Will medications prevent the patient from being able to talk or know what's happening?

Usually not. It is the goal of hospice to have the patient as pain-free and alert as possible. By constantly consulting with the patient, hospices have been very successful in reaching this goal.


Home Hospice Care

How often will my team visit when I am at home?

Your team will make visits on a schedule that you help create. The frequency of visits depends on your condition and is increased or decreased as needed.

What if I have an emergency in the middle of the night?

The Alive Hospice team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What specific assistance does hospice provide home-based patients?

Hospice patients are cared for by a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, hospice certified nursing assistants, clergy, therapists and volunteers. Each provides assistance based on his or her own area of expertise. In addition, hospices provide medications, supplies, equipment and hospital services related to the terminal illness, and additional helpers in the home (if and when needed).

Is there any special equipment I need in my home before hospice care begins? Changes I need to make?

Your hospice provider will assess your needs, recommend any equipment and help make arrangements to obtain any necessary equipment. Often the need for equipment is minimal at first and increases as the illness progresses. In general, hospice will assist in any way it can to make home care as convenient, clean and safe as possible.

How many family members or friends does it take to care for a patient at home?

There's no set number. One of the first things a hospice team will do is to prepare an individualized care plan that will, among other things, address the amount of caregiving needed by the patient. Hospice staff visit regularly and are always accessible to answer medical questions, provide support and teach caregivers.

Must someone be with the patient at all times?

In the early weeks of care, it's usually not necessary for someone to be with the patient all the time. Later, however, since one of the most common fears of patients is the fear of dying alone, hospice generally recommends someone be there continuously. While family and friends do deliver most of the care, hospices provide volunteers to assist with errands and to provide a break and time away for primary caregivers. While no one from Alive Hospice will move into your home, we will work with you to establish the frequency of visits from your hospice care team members that meet your unique needs.

Is caring for the patient at home the only place hospice care can be delivered?

No. Although 90% of hospice patient time is spent in a personal residence, some patients live in nursing homes or hospice centers.

Grief Support

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

Hospice provides continuing contact and support for caregivers for at least a year following the death of a loved one. Most hospices also sponsor bereavement groups and support for anyone in the community who has experienced a death of a family member, a friend or other significant losses. Click here for more information, or call 615-963-4732.

Does hospice help support my family or caregiver?

A life-limiting illness affects everyone. Support and counseling are provided by your team to your family and caregiver.


How are hospice services paid for?

A variety of options are available for patients needing hospice care. These include:

  • Medicare Hospice Benefit: Medicare covers hospice care. Covered services include clinical visits, equipment and supplies related to the terminal illness for the hospice patient. We will contact the insurance provider and let patients know any cost for which they are responsible.
  • Private insurance: Many private insurance policies cover most, if not all, hospice services. We will contact the insurance provider and notify the patient of any out-of-pocket cost and policy limitations such as copays and deductibles.
  • Room and board fees: Costs associated with living at Alive Hospice Residence Nashville are not covered by Medicare, or by most private insurance plans. Residential care is needed when a patient’s medical condition is stable, but the patient is no longer able or willing to remain at home. Room and board fees are billed on a sliding fee scale. Our social workers can assist patients and their families to secure financial assistance when needed.

If the patient is not covered by Medicare or any other health insurance, will hospice still provide care?

The first thing hospice will do is assist families in finding out whether the patient is eligible for any coverage they may not be aware of. Barring this, most hospices will provide care for anyone who cannot pay using money raised from the community or from memorial or foundation gifts.