Ask an Expert: My Mom’s on Hospice; What Happens If I Get Sick?


Ask an Expert: My Mom’s on Hospice; What Happens If I Get Sick?

Dear Denise,

I am disabled and care for my mom who’s receiving hospice services. What happens if I get sick?


You are wise to think through the worries now. The hospice benefit does include five days of respite care so that you can take a break. You could use these five days in case you become ill. Of course, the concern is keeping your mom safe from an infection, like coronavirus, if you share the same home.

Call the social worker on your mom’s hospice team and ask for ideas and recommendations on how to manage if you do get sick. Questions to ask include:

  • If you become infected, how can the hospice team help to minimize the risk for your mom? Some skilled nursing facilities can admit a hospice patient for the five day respite benefit. However, would this be a wise move given the concerns about infections in facilities? Will a facility even be able to admit your mom? What other options are available other than a skilled nursing facility?

  • Will the hospice team be able to add more help in the home to care for your mom if you do get sick?

  • In addition, if your mom develops an infection, ask the hospice team for guidance to manage in your home. You also want them to provide clear instructions on how to manage any emergency. Who should you call if you are concerned about an emergency?

These conversations are critical to have and to continue. Any time you have a worry about what could happened, be sure to reach out to your hospice team.

Have you experienced a similar situation? What tips would you add? Please share your experiences and ideas in our comments section, below.

Stumped by an on-going struggle? Searching for meaning in your journey? You’re not alone! Family caregivers ask Denise M. Brown for her insights and suggestions to their caregiving conundrums. Have a question for Denise? Just e-mail her. Denise will do her best to answer questions within 24 hours.

If you or your caree are in a crisis, we urge you to call a health care professional immediately for assistance. Denise only provides general insights about general situations. You should always consult your own lawyer, financial planner, health care professional and other professional advisors for advice specific to your situation.

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