Frequently Asked Questions | VITAS Healthcare

Common Questions about VITAS

Q: Who does VITAS serve ... and how?

We care for adult patients with a wide range of life-limiting illnesses. Our condition-specific services include, but are not limited to:

  • AIDS/HIV hospice care
  • Hospice care for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Alzheimer’s hospice care
  • Cancer hospice care
  • COPD hospice care
  • Dementia hospice care
  • Hospice care for heart disease
  • Hospice care for stroke
  • Hospice care for lung, liver and kidney disease
  • Multiple sclerosis hospice care

We focus on the management of physical and emotional pain and symptoms, which is called palliative care. It is a form of active treatment, but is not intended to cure underlying disease. All of our palliative care treatments aim to enhance our patients’ comfort and overall quality of life.

Q: What services does VITAS provide?

VITAS provides all prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, medical equipment and supplies required to treat terminal illnesses. We provide four types of hospice care: routine home care, continuous care (Intensive Comfort Care®), inpatient care, and respite care. For more information on these types of care, click here..

Q: Who pays for VITAS services?

Medicare and Medicaid (MediCal) offer coverage for our hospice services, including medical care, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, medical equipment and other supplies required to manage patients’ terminal conditions. Since we accept Medicare and Medicaid as 100 percent coverage, there are no out-of-pocket expenses. Our services are also covered by many private insurance plans; if you have private insurance, we can contact your insurer to ask about your coverage.

All hospice organizations are reimbursed in the same way, so they do not compete on cost. It is only the quality of services and spectrum of choices that differentiate one hospice from another.

Q: Who is on the VITAS care team?

The interdisciplinary VITAS care team is made up of trained caregivers who put individual patient and family needs first:

  • Physicians collaborate with the patient’s primary physician and are available for pain and symptom management consultation, as well as to make house calls as needed.
  • Nurses are experienced in assessing and managing pain; they provide hands-on care.
  • Social workers are friendly and skilled listeners who can offer emotional support and help with financial issues and planning.
  • Hospice aides help with personal care, such as bathing and mouth care; they also can help with light cleaning, light laundry and occasional shopping.
  • Chaplains offer spiritual support.
  • Volunteers, specially trained in hospice, are important members of the team who are available when they are needed most.
  • Bereavement specialists provide grief and loss counseling, memorial services and other support for family and loved ones.
Q: How can I share what I’ve learned with my family?

Go to for a discussion guide in pdf format that can be emailed, saved or printed. It suggests topics to consider, what happens when you call hospice, what you can expect a hospice to provide, additional references and more.

Questions? Contact us at 1-866-41-VITAS (1-866-418-4827)

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