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Understanding Your Community Volunteer Hospice

Hospice of Anchorage

Did you know that Hospice of Anchorage is a Volunteer Hospice?

We are! What does that mean for you? Because we are not a Medicare Certified Hospice provider, access to our services differs from Providence Hospice, Enhabit Hospice, and Ancora Hospice.  

If you are earlier in the course of a serious life-limiting illness and/or are still undergoing treatment but need some guidance and support, please call Hospice of Anchorage. We can help you and your loved ones navigate your diagnosis, connect you with community resources, and provide social services as well as nurse education. 
If you or a loved one are no longer pursuing curative treatment, do not want to return to the hospital, and have been given a diagnosis with a life expectancy of six months or less, you should call a Medicare Certified Hospice. In our community, you have the choice of Providence Hospice, Enhabit Hospice, or Ancora Hospice. 
Most importantly, don’t wait. What we hear most often from those on our service is, “I wish I would have called sooner.”

When and Who Do I Call?

What Services are Provided at Hospice of Anchorage?

At Hospice of Anchorage, our care is provided by a team of professionals and trained volunteers. We provide emotional and spiritual support, information, education, in-home practical assistance, and companioning, assessment, and community resources coordination. When your disease progresses under our care, we will refer you to a Medicare Hospice but will remain an integral part of your care team.
Our staff provides consultation, education, and support visits during regular working hours:

General Inquiries: Mon – Thurs 11 AM – 4 PM 

Clients & Caregivers: Mon – Fri 8 AM – 4 PM

We coordinate with other providers for needed medication and equipment.  Hospice of Anchorage provides limited in-home respite and chore services for those who qualify for our State of Alaska funded Senior In-Home grant program.  The supervision of your medical care remains with your individual provider. 

Hospice of Anchorage is licensed as a Volunteer Hospice. This is quite different than that of a Medicare-certified Hospice and it is important to understand why. Here are some important differences between the two: 


 Volunteer Hospice:

  • We respond to any request for assistance but can best help when we are asked to provide guidance and support earlier in the course of a progressive life-limiting illness.
  • Care is provided by a team of professionals and trained volunteers, and includes emotional-spiritual support, information, education, in-home practical assistance and companioning, assessment, and coordination of community resources.
  • The team provides consultation, education, and support visits during regular working hours M-F. We make referrals to Medicare Hospice or other home care providers and provide volunteers when needs increase.
  • Supervision of medical care remains with the client’s provider.
  • A referral/admission order from a health care provider is not needed.
  • There is no fee for care.


Medicare-certified Hospice:

  • Generally, the person is no longer pursuing curative treatment, does not want to return to the hospital, and most likely has 6 months to live.
  • Care is provided in the person’s place of residence by RCN Case Managers, Chaplain, Medical Director, etc.
  • Supervision of medical care can remain with the client’s provider or can transfer to the Hospice’s Medical Director.
  • Medicare does have specific medical indicators/criteria that must be present to qualify for the Medicare Hospice
    Benefit (A physician must sign a “Certification of Terminal Illness).
  • A referral order is needed from a healthcare provider.
  • Generally, requires a payment source.

What Services are Provided by a Volunteer Hospice?

Do I Qualify for Hospice Care?

At Hospice of Anchorage, we serve individuals of all ages (from before birth) with a limited life expectancy. We also provide support to families and caregivers. We serve those who are continuing to receive palliative or curative treatments. You can continue to see your physician as needed and go to the hospital for care. 
To qualify for Medicare Hospice, you need to discontinue ongoing treatments related to your life-limiting diagnosis. Medicare has specific medical indicators/criteria that must be present to qualify for the Hospice Medicare Benefit. Your physician must sign a Certification of Terminal Illness. 

How Do I Get Started?

Anyone can refer themselves or a loved one to Hospice of Anchorage, as long as the person being referred (or their POA) has given consent. You can fill out our online Referral Form. Once completed, our staff will automatically be notified. Or you can always call us at 907-561-5322.

If we feel you would benefit from a Medicare Hospice provider, we’ll gladly connect you with one in our community. 

Is Hospice Care Expensive?

At Hospice of Anchorage, all of our services are free of charge. We are a nonprofit 501c3, supported through community and business donations and state and federal grants.
If you’re being cared for by a Medicare Hospice and have insurance, the Hospice Medicare Benefit (HMB) covers your hospice care. Many Medicare hospices provide financial assistance to those who don’t have insurance or whose insurance doesn’t include the HMB.