Frequently Asked Questions

At Hospice of Hilo we understand that every patient and his/her family's needs are unique. With this understanding we know that one of the best ways to answer the complexities of each individual situation is simply to call us. Our trained staff will answer any questions you may have and help you to understand your options.

If you want to know more about Hospice of Hilo's programs before making a decision please call, (808) 969-1733.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions to help begin the dialogue.

When a patient enrolls in Hospice of Hilo, must they give up their Primary Care Physician?
No. A Hospice of Hilo patient's Primary Care Physician typically continues to be responsible for the patient's care. The Hospice of Hilo nurse provides continuous communication between the patient and the Primary Care Physician. Hospice of Hilo medical directors provide an additional level of care.

Must a patient wait for his/her physician to recommend hospice before seeking Hospice of Hilo support?
No. Although most physicians are familiar with hospice and with the signs and symptoms of impending death, some may delay in suggesting hospice in favor of further curative treatments. If a patient or his/her family feels that they would benefit from Hospice of Hilo, they may make a self-referral.

Once a patient enrolls in hospice can he/she then change his/her mind and seek curative treatment?
Yes. Hospice of Hilo strongly supports patient choice. If a Hospice of Hilo patient wishes to seek curative treatment, he/she may elect to cancel hospice care, at which time their regular insurance will be activated with the same coverage that was provided prior to hospice enrollment.

If a patient enrolls in hospice and then chooses to cancel hospice care, can he/she later re-enroll in hospice?
Yes. A patient can say "goodbye" to Hospice of Hilo repeatedly without jeopardizing his/her chance to re-enroll, as long as his/her condition meets the enrollment criteria.

How does Hospice of Hilo "manage pain?"
Hospice of Hilo nurses and doctors are up-to-date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. In addition, physical and occupational therapists are sometimes called on to help the patient be as mobile and self-sufficient as possible. Hospice of Hilo believes that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain, so it has counselors, including clergy, to help the patient and their family members.

How many family members or friends does it take to care for a patient at home?
There is no set number. The Hospice of Hilo team works to develop a proper care giving system for the patient's unique situation.

Must someone be with the patient at all times?
This depends on the patient's level of ability to function safely. In the beginning, it is usually not necessary for someone to be with the patient at all times. Hospice of Hilo generally recommends someone be there all the time once the patient's condition begins to decline. While family and friends must be relied on to give most of the care, Hospice of Hilo can provide certified nurse aides and trained volunteers for support and to offer breaks.

Is it true that hospice staff and volunteers intrude on the patient's home life, disrupting the family's daily activities and displacing the family as caregivers?
No. Hospice of Hilo staff and volunteers are especially sensitive to the fact that they are guests in the patient's home. They make every effort to ensure that they do not intrude on the patient's and family's privacy and need for quiet and control. Hospice of Hilo workers are taught to "leave their slippers and their own agendas at the door."

How can people most effectively prepare for the end-of-life, either his/her own or that of his/her loved ones?
Here are three suggestions. First, begin holding caring conversations with immediate family members about the kind of care one wants for himself/herself at the end of life. Too often families delay in having these kinds of conversations because the subject is uncomfortable.

Second, take the time to complete an advance healthcare directive. This document spells out, in detail, how a person wishes to be cared for in the event that he/she becomes unable to communicate his/her wishes.

Third, take the proactive step of making funeral arrangements now.

Does Hospice of Hilo provide any help to the family after the patient dies?
Hospice of Hilo provides continuing contact and support for family and friends for at least a year following death. Hospice of Hilo also offers bereavement and support groups for anyone in the community who has experienced the death of a family member, a friend, or a loved one.

Who do I contact if I have feedback or concerns to share?
In Hospice of Hilo’s efforts to give the best of the best care to the people of East Hawaiʻi, we would like to welcome and encourage any feedback you may want to give us about the services you are receiving. We appreciate all commentary on the care delivered, and take feedback very seriously.  Please send your comments to  Our Quality and Compliance Manager will review your comments and respond in a timely manner.  


Serving East Hawai'i from Laupahoehoe to South Point

1011 Waiānuenue Avenue | Hilo HI, 96720 | Phone: 808-969-1733 | Fax: 808-969-4863 |
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