What is Hospice

Hospice care focuses on medical and personal comfort for people in the last months or days of life.

We call hospice “comfort care” because our doctors and nurses help patients with physical symptoms like pain, nausea, or breathing difficulty.

Hospice is health care for someone with an advanced illness. Just as you take your children to a pediatrician, seek out a cardiologist if you have a heart problem, or visit a surgeon if you need surgery, you should call hospice when a loved one is approaching the end of his or her life.

For some patients, hospice can be an alternative to staying in – or returning to – a hospital.

Most of the time, hospice care is provided to people in their homes. Occasionally a patient with severe symptoms will go to our hospice homes for a short period of time.

Circle of Life works with patients to understand their goals and objectives for this time in their lives. Patients are asked, “What is important to you?” When a patient first enrolls in hospice, members of the hospice team visit the patient and family to learn their needs and preferences.

Hospice Services

Our team of doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers, hospice aids, bereavement counselors and trained volunteers work together with our patients and their families to provide quality end-of-life care in your home, nursing facility, and at our hospice homes in Bentonville & Springdale.

Here is what you can expect from Circle of Life:


  • Expert care in pain and symptom management
  • Physicians that are specialized in hospice care who oversee medical needs
  • Nurses (RNs) trained in end-of-life care that coordinate and provide bedside care
  • Social workers that address patient and family practical needs and provide counseling
  • Hospice aids that are available to assist with personal care if needed
  • Spiritual counselors that provide emotional and spiritual support
  • Volunteers that provide companionship and support
  • Bereavement counselors available for up to 13 months free of charge
  • 5-Day Respite Care (as needed)
  • Medications and treatments to control pain and other symptoms related to the terminal diagnosis
  • Medical supplies and durable medical equipment as needed, directed by the plan of care

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Making the Decision

Hospice care is not just for a person’s last few days or weeks. Patients can benefit from hospice services for six months, or even longer.
A patient can be admitted to hospice when:

  • The patient or patient representative chooses hospice care
  • Two doctors (Circle of Life’s and one other) agree hospice is appropriate and have certified a prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course
  • You have agreed to stop seeking curative treatment
  • You reside in Benton, Carroll, Madison, or Washington county
    People who sign up for hospice services can change their minds about being in hospice.

Patients can leave hospice at any time. Some patients improve under hospice care and leave the program. If people later need hospice services again, they can return to hospice care.

What should patients or families do if they are considering hospice care, or if they have questions about hospice?

  • Ask their doctor to discuss all their options, which may include hospice care.
  • Call Circle of Life Hospice for information or ask us to visit them to provide a free assessment.
  • Call Circle of Life with any additional questions. We want families to fully understand their options and we will respect any decision made.
    Please call Circle of Life Hospice at any time to get information at 479-750-6632. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can start to help.

In-Home Care

Most Circle of Life Hospice patients receive care in their own homes. Helping people live out their lives in dignity and comfort in their own homes is our core service. Living safely and comfortably at home can be one of the best ways of supporting quality of life at the end of life.

Members of the Circle of Life team come to visit patients wherever they live. This includes single-family homes and apartments, as well as extended care facilities, assisted living centers or nursing homes.

If a patient has severe symptoms that cannot be managed at home, our hospice homes can help resolve the crisis.

Paying for Hospice

Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances cover hospice services. Most hospice patients use the Medicare Hospice Benefit to pay for their care. Coverage by Medicaid and most private insurance is similar to the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

Medicare Hospice benefit
Medicare Part A pays hospices a fee that covers hospice care. The Medicare Hospice Benefit includes coverage for services related to the diagnosis which include: hospice services, including expert pain and symptom management, care from a team of professionals, medicines, medical equipment, and medical supplies.

The Hospice Benefit does not pay for round-the-clock care for patients. Hospice social workers help families figure out how to get additional care for patients who need more help.

Unlike the Medicare Home Health benefit, the Hospice Benefit does not require patients to be home-bound. Hospice patients are free to go out to visit friends and family, or participate in other activities as they are able.

Coverage by Medicaid is similar to the coverage provided by the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

Private Insurance
Most private insurances cover most or all of the cost of hospice care but some policies may have deductibles, co-pays, or maximums that apply. Circle of Life staff members work with each individual’s insurance company to ensure that patients get the care that they are entitled to.

Charity Care
Charity care for qualified patients is provided (based on the resources of the patient). For patients not covered by any of these programs and no other way to pay, Circle of Life will pick up the cost of the care.

Veteran Support

Circle of Life is committed to ensuring the best end-of-life care possible for military veterans and their loved ones.  Our goal is to:

  • Thank veterans for their service to our country
  • Provide veterans with an opportunity to tell their stories
  • Respect their service, their feelings, and any suggestions they might offer for increasing access to care for veterans
  • Show appreciation for the families of veterans and support them as they support their loved ones
  • Link veterans and their families to services and benefits available to them

Our We Honor Veterans program is a partnership with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Together we are committed to bringing comfort, dignity, and quality of life to veterans in our community.