Best Hospice Care Services

Encompass Health is the best option overall because of its national recognition

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An estimated 1.6 million patients receive care from a hospice organization each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hospice provides an opportunity for those nearing the end of their life to receive medical, mental, and spiritual support that helps keep them out of the emergency room and at their home or an inpatient hospice facility. Hospice services also frequently extend to a person’s family, including respite for caregivers and bereavement support services.

There are more than 4,700 hospice care agencies in the United States, each of varying sizes. Understandably, the sheer number can make selecting a hospice organization for yourself or a loved one very daunting. We researched and reviewed more than 30 hospice care services with a nationwide presence of 14 or more states to select the best hospice care services out there.

The Best Hospice Care Services for 2023

Best Overall : Enhabit


Key Specs
  • States Serviced: 34
  • Medicare/ Medicaid accepted? Unclear on website
  • Notable Feature: Formerly part of an award-winning company
Why We Chose It

We selected Enhabit as the best overall for hospice because several trusted national organizations recognized it as a top-performing hospice.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Winner of several national customer and employee satisfaction awards

  • More than 300 hospice locations in the United States

Cons
  • Website lacks educational and service-based information

  • Not offered in 15 states and Puerto Rico

Overview

Enhabit Health is a Dallas, Texas-based company. The company used to be tied to Encompass Health, but it was divided in July 2022. Enhabit currently offers services in 34 states. The company does not currently offer services in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, California, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Maine.

The company provides hospice services to those with a variety of end-stage conditions, including dementia, cancer, liver disease, kidney disease, and more. Its care team includes a medical director, doctors, registered nurses, hospice aids, social workers, volunteers, and more.

Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP), one of the largest benchmark organizations for hospice in the nation, awarded Encompass Health’s Hospice in Rainbow City, Alabama, its Top Performing Agency award for 2019. SHP cited this hospice location as having the top overall score for hospice caregiver satisfaction. Encompass also had three facilities perform in the top 5% of scores, and four locations rank in the top 20%.

Modern Healthcare, a healthcare business and policy publication, also selected Encompass Health as one of 2020’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare based on employee satisfaction surveys. That was the ninth appearance for Encompass Health on the publication’s list.

The Encompass Health national website is light on education and information and instead mostly serves as a landing page for interested parties to enter their ZIP code and find information about hospice programs in their area. It also features accessible phone services that are continuously staffed. You can make a care inquiry on Enhabit's website and a member of the Enhabit team will reach out to you regarding its services.

Best for Private Pay : ProMedica Hospice


Key Specs
  • States Serviced: 25
  • Medicare/ Medicaid accepted? Yes, state-to-state
  • Notable Feature: Provides grants for those in need
Why We Chose It

ProMedica Hospice tops our list because it accepts a wide variety of healthcare companies.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Accepts Medicare, Medicaid, managed care, and private pay insurances

  • Offers grants to help families with additional expenses that insurance does not cover

Cons
  • Provides hospice care in 26 states

  • Name varies by area—may be HCR ManorCare or Heartland

Overview

ProMedica offers a variety of services for hospice patients and families, including pain management, spiritual support, medications, medical equipment, patient education, and bereavement services.

In 2019, according to LexisNexis, ProMedica Hospice (Formerly Heartland/ HCR ManorCare) was the third top hospice provider in the country, with 2.32% of the hospice market share. It provides care in 25 states.

While ProMedica Hospice accepts Medicare and Medicaid payments and, therefore, most patients can receive hospice services free of charge, it also accepts private and managed care insurance. The insurance companies will vary based on the location served. As part of its services, Heartland will check and confirm a patient’s benefit coverage to describe potential out-of-pocket costs associated with hospice. These may include costs for provider care, medications, room and board, and medical equipment.

On the financial side, it also has a ProMedica Hospice Memorial Fund, designed to relieve the financial burden that can come with caring for a terminally ill family member.

ProMedica's former company titles, HCR ManorCare and Heartland Hospice, received awards from Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP) for their services. Five of their facilities were named in the top five to 20% of hospice caregiver satisfaction surveys.

Best National Presence : Amedisys


Amedisys

 Amedisys

Key Specs
  • States Serviced: 38
  • Medicare/ Medicaid accepted? Yes
  • Notable Feature: Specialized end-stage dementia program
Why We Chose It

Amedisys is the fourth-largest hospice services company in the United States, according to analytics firm LexisNexis.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Offers specialized end-stage dementia program

  • 111 agencies received top honors for quality benchmarks

  • Medicare-approved hospice provider

Cons
  • Not offered in 12 states

  • Must search customer service contacts by state

Overview

Amedisys has been in operation since 1982 and has inpatient hospice locations and offers home hospice services. According to its website, it is a Medicare-approved hospice provider, and Medicare covers 100% of hospice costs with Amedisys.

Amedisys offers hospice care in 38 states, excluding Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming. It does not list a nationwide customer service line on the website, so you’ll need to use its website to search for individual locations and contact information.

In 2019, 111 Amedisys agencies received “SHPBest Awards” from Strategic Health Programs, one of the nation’s largest hospice benchmark associations. Three Amedisys hospice centers were awarded the SHP “Premier Performer” award for ranking in the top 5% for quality and patient satisfaction. Amedisys also outperforms the national average in several Medicare Hospice Item Set (HIS) measures, including high marks for their intake assessment and for patients receiving a visit from a licensed healthcare professional within the last three days of life.

The Amedisys hospice care team includes a medical director, nurse, hospice aide, social worker, chaplain, bereavement counselor, and volunteers. Services and professionals utilized depend on your loved one’s individual needs.

Amedisys offers a specialized end-stage dementia program through its hospice services. Doctors and nurses in this program are specially trained in caring for those with dementia. Examples include providing activity lap pads to decrease agitation, special training for comforting baths and personal care, and training in non-verbal pain and behavior assessments.

Best for Breadth of Services : VITAS Healthcare


VITAS Healthcare

VITAS Healthcare

Key Specs
  • States Serviced: 14 and Washington D.C.
  • Medicare/ Medicaid accepted? Yes
  • Notable Feature: 24/7 telecare services
Why We Chose It

VITAS Healthcare provides the widest variety of services offered amongst our best hospice care facilities.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Specialty services, including Paw Pals pet visits

  • Largest market share of hospice organizations

  • 24/7 telecare services

Cons
  • Only offered in 14 states and the District of Columbia

Overview

Although VITAS Healthcare operates in only 14 states and the District of Columbia, the company had the largest market share of all hospice organizations in 2019, according to LexisNexis. In the same year, VITAS Healthcare had 4.5% of the national hospice market share. The company has been in operation since 1978 and employs over 11,300 professionals that care for more than 18,500 patients on a daily basis.

VITAS offers both at-home and inpatient hospice care. Its website lists a variety of services, both for hospice patients and their families. These include 24/7 telecare services through the organization’s Care Connection Center, which is staffed with licensed clinicians who can respond to around-the-clock requests for information and consultations.

It also offers respite care for caregivers, home medical equipment arrangements, and an “intensive comfort care” program where a hospice team member can remain in a person’s home for 24 continuous hours when a patient is experiencing a heightened level of health needs.

Other specialized programs VITAS Healthcare offers include specialized training in caring for those of the Jewish faith, music therapy, veterans care, and Paw Pals pet visits from hospice pet volunteers.

Several national organizations have recognized VITAS Healthcare for its use of technology in caring for patients—its mobile app won the “Best Social Impact” award at the 2019 Mobile User Experience Awards and “Best Technology-Enabled Process Improvement Project” at the 2018 Process Excellence Network Awards.

Best for Caregiver Support : Compassus


Compassus

 Compassus

Key Specs
  • States Serviced: 30
  • Medicare/ Medicaid accepted? Yes
  • Notable Feature: Unique programs to help patients and families alike
Why We Chose It

Compassus offers several patient support programs that make it stand out for helping grieving families.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Hospice guide available in multiple languages

  • Support for families even after their loved one has passed

  • Payment education section features paying for hospice with Medicare Advantage

Cons
  • Available in 30 states

  • Most education available on state-specific pages, not landing page

Overview

Compassus is a hospice service company based in Nashville, Tennessee, that opened its first hospice in 1979. It serves 30 states. Compassus is a Medicare- and Medicaid-approved hospice and also accepts private insurance plans. On its website, it also features information about how hospice benefits work with Medicare Advantage.

The company offers many patient support programs, like Life Review, in which volunteers help a hospice patient create a DVD or journal for families as a keepsake. It also offers a Veteran to Veteran program, where military veterans act as companions or visitors to a hospice patient, pet therapy (varies by location), and a Bereavement Program where volunteers place phone calls to friends or loved ones after the passing of a hospice patient to check in on them and their well-being.

We also liked its “Along the Final Journey” hospice guide for families, which features a hospice starter kit. These kits are very helpful for families starting hospice discussions with loved ones and other family members. It also offers virtual grief support groups and specialized support programs for adolescents and teenagers going through a loss.

The Compassus website is best navigated by putting in your ZIP code to obtain information on local branches. It’s tough to find information about services, payments, and other basic information on the national page of the site. It does have a toll-free referral phone line that's continuously staffed if you prefer to find your local branch in this manner.

Final Verdict

Finding the right care for your loved one is a huge decision. Encompass Health is our top pick for best hospice care service overall due to its trusted reputation. Several national organizations have recognized Encompass Health for its services. The company provides a variety of hospice services and is staffed by a trustworthy and professional team of caretakers.

Compare the Best Hospice Care Services

Company  States Serviced  Medicare/ Medicaid Accepted?  Notable Feature 
Enhabit: Best Overall  34  Unclear on website  Formerly part of an award-winning company 
ProMedica: Best for Private Pay  25  Yes, state-to-state  Provides grants for those in need 
Amedisys: Best National Presence  38  Yes  Specialized end-stage dementia program 
VITAS Healthcare: Best for Breadth of Services  14 and Washington D.C.  Yes  24/7 telecare services 
Compassus: Best for Caregiver Support  30  Yes  Unique programs to help patients and families alike 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Hospice Care Services?

People may utilize hospice care services when they no longer intend to seek treatments that will cure their illnesses, such as cancer. Typically, a person may start to receive hospice services when they are determined by a medical professional to have about six months or less to live. However, a person can go into hospice care and then be taken off of it if their condition improves. Ideally, hospice care allows them to spend their final months and weeks as comfortably as possible and on their own terms.

What Are the Three Types of Hospice Care?

Hospice services may include some combination of the following services:


  • Coordination of care: A hospice team will help to coordinate care for a person, such as with a doctor, pharmacist, spiritual care advisors, or other medical professionals.
  • Symptom control: This may include pain management medications or other medications and therapies to reduce a person’s discomfort.


Hospices may offer additional services based on the individual company and a person’s care needs.

Does Insurance Cover Hospice Care?

Several insurance policies and plans cover hospice care. Examples of these include: Medicare, Medicaid, Department of Veterans Affairs, and private insurance. If you or a loved one does not have insurance, hospice companies may be able to offer free or reduced-cost services. These companies may receive grants or community support to be able to provide hospice care. 

Is a Visiting Nurse the Same as a Hospice Nurse?

When a hospice nurse comes to a person’s home, they may be considered a visiting or home health nurse. However, not all home health nurses are hospice nurses. Hospice nurses provide care to those who are at the end of their lives. Home health nurses may provide care to a person who needs nursing services, such as wound care, drawing blood samples, or performing other skilled nursing services.

How Long Does the Average Person Live While in Hospice?

In 2018 the average length of time Medicare patients received hospice care was 93 days at private residences, which is where 55.6% of services were located. Some people receive hospice care for a longer time and some receive it for less. Doctors or patients themselves cannot fully predict the end of their life—but they can make the best estimate of how long a person may have to live, and help to keep them comfortable.

Methodology

We reviewed more than 30 hospice care services before narrowing our selections down. Selection criteria included considerations of the company itself, including length of time in operation, hospice market share, and locations served in the United States. We reviewed satisfaction rankings and benchmarks from Medicare, employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction results. Finally, we considered the services offered, website navigability, and customer service accessibility.

a nurse holds the hands of an elderly patient

LPETTET / Getty Images

Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospice Care.

  2. Strategic Healthcare Programs. SHPBest 2019 hospice caregiver satisfaction award winners list.

  3. National Hospice and Pallative Care Organization. Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work 2020. Updated July 23, 2020.

  4. LexisNexis Risk Solutions. 2019 top 100 hospice and home health report.

  5. Strategic Healthcare Programs. SHPBest 2019 Home Health Patient Satisfaction Award Winners List.

  6. MUX19. Meet the winners of mux19 awards. Updated

  7. VITAS. "VITAS Healthcare receives 2018 PEX Network Award for Mobile Solutions." Updated Jan. 29, 2018.

  8. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. NHPCO facts and figures 2020 edition. Updated Aug. 20, 2020.

  9. American Cancer Society. How and where is hospice care provided and how is it paid for? Updated February 4, 2021.