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Frequently Asked Questions

We understand your questions need answers. Emmanuel Hospice is here to guide you. If you have additional questions, please call us at 616.719.0919.

About Hospice Care

What is hospice?

The medical definition of hospice is holistic care and support for people who have been given a physician prognosis of six months or less to live. Our goal is to:

  • Help someone live as pain-free and alert as possible throughout a serious illness
  • Provide medications, equipment, supplies, and care related to pain and symptom relief
  • Support and comfort you and your family by relieving the burdens of a serious illness
  • Help your loved one focus on quality of life, making the best of every single day
How do I know if it’s time for hospice?

Hospice is typically suggested for individuals who are experiencing one or more of the following:

  • You have a life-limiting illness.
  • You are experiencing a decline in health or increased need for assistance with activities of daily living.
  • Curative treatments are no longer effective or desired and side effects are negatively impacting quality of life.

We understand that every person is unique. We invite you to contact us to discuss your specific situation. 

What should I expect with hospice care?

Hospice care happens wherever you call home, whether it’s in an assisted living facility, skilled nursing facility or a family home, our team comes to you. We’ll help you make the most of every moment by asking, “How do you want to live?” and our team of doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice aides, spiritual caregivers, dietitians, pharmacists, grief support specialists and volunteers work together to care for the whole person — mind, body and spirit.

Do I have a choice with my hospice provider?

Yes. You have the right to choose. There are multiple hospice providers in West Michigan, and we encourage you to learn more about what makes Emmanuel Hospice different.

You don’t need a physician referral to begin the hospice process and, in most cases, hospice costs are covered by Medicare or private insurance.

Does hospice hasten the dying process?

Hospice does not hasten the dying process. In fact, studies show hospice care can actually increase life expectancy by managing symptoms and providing holistic support. While we don’t have the ability to extend or shorten life, it is our calling to maximize quality of life for every patient we have the privilege of serving. 

Accessing Hospice Services

Do you need a referral?

Anyone can connect a loved one with Emmanuel Hospice. You don’t need a physician referral to begin the process.

How do you pay for hospice?

There is usually no direct cost to our patients and their loved ones. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance carriers cover medications, equipment, supplies, and a team of experts specialized in comforting those with a life-limiting illness.

Where is Emmanuel Hospice

Where do you provide care?

Our care is available wherever your loved one calls home. Whether in an assisted living facility, skilled nursing facility or a private home, our team will come to you. 

Can my loved one receive care at home?

Yes. Hospice a service that can happen anywhere, even at home. Emmanuel Hospice provides at-home hospice services, including expert medical care, pain management and complementary holistic therapies.

How far will Emmanuel Hospice travel to provide care?

From the Lakeshore to Ionia, Newaygo to Shelbyville, we provide care within a 50-mile radius of our office. If you’re not sure whether you are within this boundary, call 616.719.0919 or email us at

What if I/my loved one needs more care than can be provided at home?  

As a part of the continuum of care of St. Ann’s, Clark, Brio Living Services, and Sunset residential communities, Emmanuel Hospice has access to care locations in Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities. Our staff is equipped to assist with admission to one of those or dozens of other residential communities we are partnered with that will provide secure, comfortable care for you or your loved one. 

Hospice Medical Services

Can my loved one keep their current doctor?

Yes. Our Medical Director will work with your current physician to provide pain and symptom management as needed.

Will my loved one’s medications change?

Hospice will not discontinue all medications taken by a patient. A hospice nurse will work with a patient’s doctor to determine which medications are necessary to maintain comfort. 

It is a common misconception that hospice will begin administering pain medication regardless of need. Emmanuel Hospice physicians and nurses will only administer pain medication in appropriate doses and as needed and with the approval of the patient and/or caregiver. 

Will hospice be with my loved one 24 hours a day?

Hospice is a supplemental layer of support for your loved one. Unfortunately, insurance carriers do not pay for 24-hour hospice care. If your loved one is in need of a caregiver around the clock, our team of social workers will connect you with quality private duty home care or a skilled nursing facility.

Who responds to a critical need on nights and weekends?

Our highly trained extended care team evaluates critical needs and provides necessary support on nights and weekends. Whether it’s simply a phone call for advice and reassurance, or a midnight visit for symptom management and support, our hours are whenever you need us. 

Emmanuel Hospice Expertise

How much experience does Emmanuel have?

Emmanuel Hospice has served West Michigan families for over a decade, and our interfaith collaboration brings over 200 years of combined experience. 

As a nonprofit, how do you go above and beyond?

Generous donors and community partners allow us to provide services not covered by traditional insurances, and we are proud to have the broadest care delivery model in our service area. These include our complementary therapies such as music therapy, massage therapy, pet visitors, acupuncture, and “Vigil Volunteers” to ensure no one is without a hand to hold during their final hours.

Our grief support groups and resources are available to anyone who has suffered a recent loss; whether or not their loved one was a patient with Emmanuel Hospice.

Is Emmanuel Hospice an active member of any organizations or associations?

In addition to serving the needs of our patients and families, Emmanuel Hospice feels it’s necessary to give back to the community. Our ministry is a proud member of and staff actively participate in the West Michigan Healthcare Network, Caregiver Resource Network, Council on Aging, Greater Grand Rapids End-of-Life Coalition, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Homecare & Hospice Association, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association.


If I have more questions, can I talk with someone right now?

Yes, we’re available 24/7 to provide answers. Just call 616.719.0919 and our compassionate team will begin walking this journey by your side.