Hospice Services


St. Margaret’s Hospice

Contact Numbers

(815) 664-1132

Prairieland Home Care
(815) 663-2229


What is Hospice?

Hospice is not a place. It is a philosophy of care. A special kind of care for dying people, their families, and their caregivers that:

  • Treats the physical needs of patients and their emotional and spiritual needs
  • Takes place in the patient’s home, or in a home-like setting, hospital, or nursing home
  • Concentrates on making patients as free of pain and as comfortable as they want to be so they can make the most of the time that remains to them
  • Considers helping family members an essential part of its mission
  • Believes the quality of life to be as important as the length of life. It affirms life. It neither hastens nor postpones death, but exists in the hope and with the belief that terminally ill patients and their families can live as fully as possible until the end of life.

Criteria for Admission

  • The patient has a terminal diagnosis, and the physician has determined a prognosis of 6 months or less, if the disease runs its normal course.
  • The patient’s physician determines that aggressive or curative treatment is not desirable, and palliative care is the appropriate medical treatment.
  • The patient is no longer receiving curative treatment for the disease, and has elected treatment goals toward the relief of symptoms, rather than a cure.
  • The patient and family are aware of the diagnosis and prognosis and agree to hospice care in the home, or home-like setting.
  • The patient has a primary caregiver, or caregivers, who maintain responsibility for the patient and participate in the physical care of the patient. If the patient does not have a primary caregiver at the time of admission, the patient and family are encouraged to have a plan for caregiving when the patient is unable to care for him/herself.
  • St. Margaret’s offers palliative care to all terminally ill people and their families regardless of age, gender, nationality, race, creed, sexual orientation, disability, diagnosis, availability of caregiver, or ability to pay.

Benefit of Early Admission

The patient and family can benefit much more from our  services if referred earlier. Symptoms can be anticipated and prevented before becoming severe or requiring a hospitalization or emergency room visit. These symptoms can be successfully managed by the hospice team in the patient’s home. Too often, referrals for care are not made until the patient has uncontrolled symptoms or is near death. The patient’s and family’s quality of life can be greatly enhanced by an earlier admission.

Medicare Benefits

The Medicare Hospice Benefit is covered under Medicare Part A. Under this benefit, the patient will receive a wide range of non-curative medical and supportive services for their terminal illness. The Medicare Hospice Benefit also supports the family and loved ones of the patient.

The Medicare Hospice Benefit includes:

  • Physician Services
  • Nursing Care
  • Medication for symptom management and pain control
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Short-term inpatient and respite care
  • Home Health Aide Care
  • Social Work Service and Counseling
  • Spiritual Care
  • Volunteer Service
  • Bereavement Services

Private Insurance Hospice Benefit

Most private insurance companies recognize the benefits of hospice care and are willing to pay for hospice services. St. Margaret’s Hospice can contact your insurance company, with your permission, regarding the hospice coverage your individual insurance policy provides. The St. Margaret’s Hospice Social Worker is available to assist you in understanding and explaining your hospice benefit.

What is NOT Covered by Hospice?

When you elect hospice care, Medicare and most insurances will not pay for the following:

  • Treatment intended to cure your terminal illness
  • Diagnostic testing that is not recommended by the hospice provider
  • Medications unrelated to your terminal diagnosis
  • Room and board in your home or if you live in a nursing home
  • Care from another hospice that is not set up by your hospice

Pain Management

Patient Rights Only

As a patient of this hospice program, you can expect:

  • Your reports of pain will be believed
  • Information about pain and relief measures for your pain
  • A concerned staff committed to pain prevention and management
  • Health professionals who respond quickly to reports of pain
  • Effective pain management

Spiritual Care

Spiritual Care is key to the work of Hospice. “Spiritual” issues and concerns are defined by the patient and addressed after permission from the patient. The patient and family are encouraged to continue any present relationships between their own church/religion and ministers. St. Margaret’s Hospice Spiritual Care Service offers:

  • Non-judgmental listening
  • Reassurance for patient and family
  • A comforting presence
  • Prayer when appropriate

Volunteer: The Heart of Hospice

Volunteers provide assistance for various activities. Many are relatives and friends of former hospice patients who, having seen how much St. Margaret’s Hospice can help, want to contribute to our good work.

To qualify to assist in patient care, volunteers must go through orientation and training sessions:

  • Comfort Care − What you can do to help ease pain or discomfort
  • Communication Skills − How being attentive with simple presence says it all
  • Grief/Loss Process − Understand the journey
  • Hospice Philosophy − Support the best quality of life as possible
  • SMH Hospice Services − Know the mission, goals and values of our Team

We are looking for people interested in helping someone’s days become more meaningful. Volunteering for Hospice will make a difference in your life while you make a difference in the lives of others.

Do it for others, Do it for yourself!

  • Feel you are needed
  • See the difference you make
  • Change your life
  • Learn a new skill
  • Make new friends
  • Build self esteem
  • Gain satisfaction
  • Lower your stress level
  • Increase your energy

Hospice Volunteers are appreciated. The following family comments reveal the need of someone like you!

“The Hospice team was wonderful to my Mom. She told everyone she could not understand why she deserved the special treatment that was given to her…she thought of them as family”

“Everyone involved were the exact type of people that should be doing this job. Kind, caring, and professional. They became like family in such a short time.”

Take this opportunity to gain valuable experience and a sense of accomplishment while your efforts benefit others as a Hospice Volunteer!

Illinois Valley Hospice

(Formerly A Service of Illinois Valley Community Hospital)


1305 Sixth St.
Peru, IL 61354

Contact Numbers

(815) 224-1307


Formerly a service of Illinois Valley Community Hospital (IVCH), now a part of the St. Margaret’s Health System

For over 30 years Illinois Valley Hospice has been there for our community with guidance and support for end-of-life care. Hospice provides personalized care tailored to the needs of your loved one.

  • Medical /Nursing Expertise /Personal Care
  • Spiritual / Psychosocial Support
  • Volunteer / Companion Support
  • Massage /Music Therapy
  • Bereavement – Support Groups

Bereavement Care & Support Groups

At St. Margaret’s Illinois Valley Hospice, bereavement care is an integral part of our plan of care for families both before and after the passing of a loved one. Grief and mourning are a natural part of the healing process after the loss of a loved one. The bereavement program at Illinois Valley Hospice is available to help individuals through their healing process.

Our bereavement program continues up to 13 months after the passing of a loved one and helps families and friends deal with feelings of sadness, loss and grief. We understand there is never enough time to prepare for the loss. But with support, time to grieve, patience and effort, there can be peace and acceptance.

We understand that not everyone grieves in the same way, so various bereavement services are offered to suit the individual.

Bereavement Coordinator

The bereavement coordinator calls or visits families to identify bereavement needs. The coordinator is available before and after the passing of a loved one. Our coordinator is specially trained and experienced in the process of grief and loss.

Trained Volunteers

Emotional support is provided by trained volunteers through monthly phone calls, visits and assisting with family needs. Volunteers are available to listen to those in need of companionship.

Volunteer assistance is available before and after the passing of a loved one. Volunteers can provide a break for families and friends, help run errands, etc.

Memorial Services

Services are a celebration of life for families to remember their loved one and reconnect with the hospice team.

Memorial services are a time to celebrate the life of loved ones and remember them through liturgy, scripture, song, music and reflection. Families and friends are invited to attend. The names of hospice patients are read during the services, and families are invited to light a candle of remembrance for their loved one.


Eligibility Requirements

St. Margaret’s Illinois Valley Hospice provides compassionate to terminally ill patients in their homes. Hospice eligibility is not limited to certain diseases, diagnoses or ages. Basic eligibility requirements include:

  • The individual has a desired goal of comfort, rather than curative care. The individual wishes to no longer treat the terminal illness itself, but to focus on the management of pain and symptoms and enhance quality of life.
  • A physician must certify that the individual has a life expectancy of six months or less. This does not mean that hospice care can only last 6 months. In many cases, hospice care goes beyond this six-month period. (For individuals who do not have a primary care physician, our medical director is available to certify and coordinate care.)
  • The individual resides within Illinois Valley Hospice service area.


Frequently Asked Questions

Hospice care is a big step for both patients and their families. During this emotional time, many people have questions about what hospice care involves and what the patients can expect. At St. Margaret’s Illinois Valley Hospice we treat all patients with comfort, care, and dignity. These answers to frequently asked questions can give you a better idea of what we do and the excellent care you or your loved one can expect while staying with us.


Hospice care begins as soon as a formal request or referral is made. St. Margaret’s Illinois Valley Hospice will make a visit to the patient’s home within 24 hours of receiving the referral, provided the visit fits the schedule of the patient and family or primary caregiver. During the initial visit, patients are evaluated and, if they meet criteria, are admitted to hospice. All hospice services are explained to the patient and family, and visit schedules are arranged for the duration of care. We want you to have a full understanding of the care you will receive. We will take the time to get to know you and answer your questions.

The hospice nurse will work with the patient and family to have any needed equipment set up in the home. Items such as a hospital bed or oxygen are often needed. Our staff will work with a medical equipment company to have equipment set up in the home.

During the first few days of hospice care, families will receive calls from various members of the hospice team, such as our spiritual care coordinator, social workers and volunteers. We want you to have the full benefit of hospice care and fully understand the services available to you and your loved one.

I know that hospice eligibility requires a life expectancy of 6 months or less. What happens if a patient lives longer than six months?

Patients frequently start to feel better after admission to hospice. Hospice support and management of symptoms enhance the patient’s quality of life. Patients will not be discharged after six months as long as the doctor feels the patient is still terminal and has a life expectancy of six months or less.

Do I have to be homebound to receive hospice services?

No. Hospice patients are actually encouraged to go out as much as they wish and stay as active as possible for as long as possible. Patients may go on as many outings and trips as they are able. We want patients to enjoy and live life to its fullest.

What happens if I change my mind?

Patients may stop receiving hospice services at any time if they so desire.

Are there any special changes I need to make to my home before hospice care begins?

No changes are necessary for your home. Throughout your time with hospice, staff may have some suggestions as to ordering equipment for your home or minor suggestions for making your home more accessible. Our staff can help you decide how to best arrange your space.

Must a caregiver be with me at all times while I am on hospice care?

We will accept patients with or without a caregiver. Should your condition worsen to the point that a caregiver is necessary around the clock, our social workers are available to help you through these decisions and assist in getting the regular help you need.

What happens if I cannot stay at home due to my increasing care need and require a different place to stay?

Should your condition worsen to the point that you are no longer able to stay at home, our social workers will assist you and your family in finding a place for you to stay-this may be a nursing home, assisted-living facility, etc. Additionally, our staff will work with you to address any payment questions/issues for any facility considered.

How does hospice manage pain?

The goal of hospice care is to keep the patient comfortable and free of pain. Hospice staff specialize in sophisticated methods of pain management to keep patients comfortable in their own homes.

Is hospice available after hours?

Hospice staff are never more than a phone call away. Even after regular business hours, staff members are on-call for inquiries and emergencies.

How does hospice work to keep the patient comfortable?

Many patients may have pain and symptoms as illness progresses. Hospice staff receive special training to care for all types of physical and emotional symptoms that cause pain, discomfort and distress. They are constantly monitoring patients for signs of pain and symptoms and respond as soon as they start.

Keeping patients comfortable and free of pain and symptoms is a primary goal of hospice care. Hospice staff work with the patient’s physician to make sure that medication, therapies and procedures are designed to achieve the goals outlined in the patient’s care plan, and limit pain/symptoms they may experience. The care plan is reviewed frequently to make sure any changes and new goals are in the plan.

When is the right time for hospice care?

This is a very common hospice question. The simple answer is the sooner the better. The earlier hospice is involved, the more we can help to make the final months, weeks and days as comfortable as possible.

By choosing hospice sooner, patients and families can get the full benefit of hospice in a number of ways:

  • They can get to know their primary nurse and the hospice team. Better rapport and relationships are established.
  • Our hospice team can manage pain and symptoms as soon as they begin.
  • Our hospice team can begin to prepare families and their loved one for the road ahead.

The greatest benefit to families is that time with their loved one is more pleasant and comfortable because the patient’s quality of life is enhanced.

Who can refer to hospice?

Anyone. The patient, friends, family members or loved ones can make referrals to our hospice program. To make a referral, call us at 815.224.1307.

Will my insurance cover hospice care?

Hospice staff members help families and loved ones understand individual insurance coverage. Coverage generally includes any services related to the terminal diagnosis, including service of the hospice team, drugs for symptom management and pain relief, medical equipment, and oxygen and medical supplies.

Can I be admitted to the hospital while on hospice care?

The hospice program at Illinois Valley Hospice is a home hospice. Our ultimate goal is to keep patients in the comfort of their own home, close to family and friends, for as long as possible. However, there are times when hospital admissions are necessary.

Sometimes the need arises for hospital admission when pain and symptoms cannot be controlled in the home setting. During this time, patients are admitted to the hospital so that they can be closely monitored, and pain and symptoms can be controlled. Regular services of the hospice team do not change during a hospital stay. Our nurses, social workers, clergy, etc. continue hospice visits, just as they did before. Once pain and symptoms are controlled, patients can return home.

Patients may also be admitted to the hospital for family respite. While there are limitations to hospital admissions for family respite, they are allowed periodically. We understand that there are many issues-physical, mental and emotional-associated with end-of-life care. It is during this time that admissions for family respite are appropriate.

Continuous care at home can be provided in a period of crisis. If a patient develops acute symptoms and wishes to stay at home, Illinois Valley Hospice staff will stay in the home for brief periods to manage the symptoms. This cannot be done if the patient lives in a nursing home.