Make a Referral

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It’s Easy to Make a Referral to CareFirst!

CareFirst has made it easy to refer patients to our hospice, palliative care, and grief service programs. We understand that time is of the essence, so our referral process is designed to meet your needs in a timely manner.  Like any crucial conversation, hospice eligibility is often best discussed in person, which is why our CareFirst team offers free information visits, 7 days a week, at any location within our service area – home, hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility, medical office, etc. Schedule an information visit by filling out this form or calling 607.962.3100.

In the meantime, you can use this quick and easy referral guide to determine if CareFirst is the best choice for you, your loved one, or your patient.

Anyone can make a referral!

While the primary doctor will need to approve hospice or palliative care services upon admission, an initial referral can come from anyone- a member of the medical team, a family member, clergy, neighbors and friends, or other service provider. If you think someone can benefit from our services, give us a call any time of day or night, 7 days a week, at 607.962.3100 to talk with a compassionate member of the CareFirst team.

If you’re wondering if it is the right time to refer, it probably is.

Being ready for hospice doesn’t mean you are dying tomorrow. In fact, research proves that early referrals not only increase quality of life and patient satisfaction, but also extend quantity of life. Yes, you read that right… having a personalized, quality plan of care reduces moments of crisis and hospitalizations, which helps you live longer.  Families often wish they had heard about CareFirst sooner in their journey.

Who pays for services?

CareFirst accepts Medicare, Medicaid, Private Insurance, as well as Private Pay. We offer a sliding fee scale for the uninsured or underinsured. Hospice is fully covered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit. Medical equipment such as hospital bed, oxygen, commode, wheelchair, etc. are covered for CareFirst hospice patients. Medications related to your primary diagnosis are also paid for when you are on hospice.  Grief services that support the family after a loss are offered free of charge, and are fully funded by community donations.

Where do I go for hospice?

You get to stay wherever you are most comfortable- hospice comes to you! Anyone can receive hospice services in your home, hospital, skilled nursing facility, assisted living facility, or other location. Individuals do not need to be homebound or bedbound to access hospice. In fact, many hospice patients enjoy spending their days being active in the community, doing the things they love the most, for as long as they can. While CareFirst does not have a hospice residence, we do contract with Vincent House, a 2 bed comfort care home in Wayland, NY.

How do I talk about hospice with my patient or loved one?

It’s not easy to talk about end of life with those we care about, yet having this difficult conversation before crisis strikes is one of the best things you can do for that person. You don’t have to do it alone. Our team can help guide crucial conversations, using compassionate questioning techniques that help individuals and families identify their goals and values, which guides the conversation in a meaningful, person-centered way. An information visit from the CareFirst team is the easiest way to initiate a conversation about end of life wishes and care. Our team also serves as a resource and consultant to local medical facilities and offices who are interested in learning more about having difficult conversations about end of life.

What makes someone eligible for hospice?

There is no specific number of symptoms that identify hospice readiness. “Ready” looks different for each individual. Generally, these guidelines can help determine if a person is hospice appropriate:

  • Life limiting condition or chronic disease with a prognosis of six months or less, if the disease runs its normal course
  • Frequent hospitalizations or visits to urgent care for the same symptoms in the past six months
  • Progressive weight loss or lack of interest in eating
  • Increasing weakness and/or fatigue
  • A change in cognitive or functional abilities
  • Struggling with activities of daily living- eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring/walking, incontinence
  • Recurrent infections or wounds
  • Treatments are not working, or becoming more of a hindrance than a help

Each disease has its own set of guidelines for eligibility; please call 607.962.3100 or request an informational visit to discuss your personal situation, needs, and goals.