Frequently Asked Questions

It feels like “Hospice” is a bad word – makes me think of death and dying. Why should we call?

We’re actually all about living. For more than 30 years, MVHPC has focused on serious illness so our neighbors can focus on living. Those who opt for MVHPC services typically experience significantly better quality of life and statistically live longer than those who are not our patients, despite suffering from a terminal illness.

Isn’t Hospice only for cancer patients? My sister has COPD & heart disease.

Anyone with a life-limiting illness or combination of complex health issues qualifies for MVHPC services if their prognosis is six months or less and they have stopped aggressive treatment or therapies. We excel at symptom and pain management, two critical components of helping patients achieve their personal goals.

I’m worried about my mother-in-law. I feel like I don’t have the appropriate resources to care for her. But isn’t Hospice only for patients?

We’re here for you, the family and loved ones, too! Transition planning, grief support services and bereavement counseling sessions are provided free of charge, regardless of whether your loved one is an MVHPC patient. We also provide “respite” support for caregivers who need a break in their day for errands or appointments. For caregivers who have to be out of town or have an obligation that conflicts with round-the-clock care, MVHPC can provide up to five days of inpatient care at the Nancy Dowd Hospice Home as additional “respite” support.

Are MVHPC staff licensed professionals?

Yes, we operate by state and federal guidelines. Our interdisciplinary care team includes the following:

  • Registered Nurses,
  • Licensed Practical Nurses,
  • Physician as Medical Director,
  • Masters’ Prepared Social Workers,
  • Certified Home Health Aides,
  • Chaplain,
  • Certified Massage Therapists,
  • Certified Aromatherapists,
  • Certified Pet Therapists,
  • Registered Dietitian.
Can we check out the Nancy Dowd Hospice Home (NDHH) without obligation?

Any time! Anyone is welcome to visit MVHPC and the NDHH. Refer patients as appropriate. Volunteer to be part of our fabulous team. Donate money to support our mission of honoring what matters most to those we serve. Host a meeting or event at our beautiful campus with state-of-the-art conference room and Adirondack-style Great Room. Stop by for a cup of coffee while you tour our eight upscale beds available for 24/7 dedicated care. Become a Hospice mythbuster!

Shouldn’t we wait as long as possible to get MVHPC involved? We don’t want to discourage our dad.

Please don’t wait until the patient is feeling his worst. The sooner we get involved, the more benefit to the patient and their loved ones. From emotional support to advanced care planning to symptom management, it’s an honor for us to join the journey at whatever point you are comfortable letting us in.


How do I know when I’m ready to make a referral?

Are you or your loved one frequently visiting the emergency department? Have you had more than one hospitalization in the past year? Are the symptoms becoming more difficult to manage with medications? Is appetite diminishing, accompanied by significant weight loss? Is pain impacting daily activity? Call us…

Can we get Hospice services in the hospital?

Absolutely! MVHPC services are available in the home, nursing home, hospital, or Nancy Dowd Hospice Home. Depending on your situation and personal goals, MVHPC will coordinate with the patient, loved ones, and care team to create an interdisciplinary, safe care plan. The majority of people want to spend their end of life at home, surrounded by friends or family, without being a burden to others. We will do what we can to accommodate your wishes.

Isn’t MVHPC affiliated with a bigger healthcare system? We really prefer a personal approach.

We’re the real deal – all in! MVHPC & NDHH are independently operated as a not-for-profit organization, governed by a Board of Directors and Foundation Board. We are regulated by the New York State Department of Health, as well as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

What if we’re dealing with Alzheimer’s or Dementia?
Depending on the advancement of the symptoms, we will do our best to help. The NDHH is a home-style facility that cannot accommodate one-to-one observation or any physical restraint or restriction beyond bed and chair alarms. If there are behaviors exhibited, we may not be the safest option. Call us – we’ll talk it through.
Assisted suicide and medical marijuana frequent the news outlets and social media. Does MVHPC subscribe to either?

We are not involved with either controversial topic at this point in time. At MVHPC we are focused on quality of life for patients and loved ones. We focus on managing pain and other symptoms to maintain as active a lifestyle as possible for those involved. For the family, we focus on emotional support and “respite” relief. We are not here to expedite or invoke end of life. As for medical marijuana, we have access to a portfolio of traditional medications with proven success for a variety of symptoms with escalating severity. Our medical staff and pharmacy business partners keep us current on our options.


Is MVHPC affiliated with any religious organizations?

No, MVHPC and NDHH are non-denominational and non-judgmental. Our on-staff Chaplain is spiritually supportive but adapts his style to your preferences. Like all our services, chaplaincy is optional. You don’t have to have any spiritual or religious support unless you choose to.


How do we pay for MVHPC services?

Medicare, Medicaid & most commercial and private pay insurances cover the majority of our professional services. We will help you navigate the paperwork and process. For those interested in NDHH, Medicaid may pay up to the full room and board, leaving little out-of-pocket cost on the table. Some other long-term care and private pay insurances will also cover room and board. Again, we can help with the research. For more information about costs and coverage, please call 518.725.4545.


Do we have to live in Fulton, Montgomery, Hamilton, or Saratoga Counties?

No, call us anyway. If you are interested in one of the beds at NDHH, they are available to anyone who meets Hospice criteria, regardless of where they currently live. If you are looking for home care, we can still help you identify the closest resource if you are outside our geographic region.

I think my neighbor would benefit from Hospice services, but I heard only doctors can refer patients to MVHPC?

Not true! Send your neighbor our way. Anyone can refer a potential patient to MVHPC. However, there does need to be an attending physician who oversees the patient’s care plan while receiving our services. Call us 24/7, or stop by the Nancy Dowd Hospice Home for an informational visit and tour.


What if we change our mind and decide to pursue aggressive or preventive treatment?

No problem, we understand. At any point in time, you are welcome to discharge from Hospice to pursue aggressive or preventive treatment or therapy. Now that we offer Palliative Care for pain & symptom management in the home, we will offer you to transfer to the Palliative Care service line to continue to coordinate your care and provide an added layer of support. If at some point you decide to return to the Hospice program, we will still be here for a smooth transition.

When the patient passes away, does our connection to MVHPC for family support end?

We’re with you for the long haul – as long as you need us. MVHPC will follow the family or loved ones for just over a year after the patient passes. After that, we continue to offer support groups and other bereavement resources for those who benefit from a network. And these services are always free of charge.


Honored to serve you in our home or yours.