At Compassus, our experienced staff is available to consult with patients and families and help them make decisions about hospice care.
If your physician has given you a prognosis of six months or less (if your terminal illness runs its normal course), chances are you are already eligible for hospice. But there are many things to consider.
The transition to hospice often occurs when the decision is made to stop curative and aggressive medical treatment and to focus on comfort care, which is known as palliative care. Clinically, palliative care focuses on managing the pain and symptoms of illness, rather than attempting to cure it.
It is important for patients and families to know that anyone can make a referral to hospice. Experts say that patients who receive care for 30-60 days benefit substantially over those who enter hospice in their final days, often following a crisis situation. Many families who have experienced hospice care often regret that they did not learn about hospice sooner for their loved one.
Despite the fact that facing end-of-life issues is often difficult to approach, open communication is key. That’s why we encourage patients and families to initiate conversations about hospice care with each other and particularly with their family physician as part of a more comprehensive advance care plan.
Hospice care does not close the door to life; it opens the door to living a quality life with a life-limiting illness.
Hospice-appropriate individuals may experience some or all of the following:
- Frequent hospitalizations
- Progressive weight loss
- Deteriorating mental abilities
- Recurrent infections
- Specific decline in condition
Who should receive hospice care?
- People with an illness causing a limited life expectancy
- Patients and families who have chosen care that focuses on symptom management rather than curative treatment
- Patients and families who choose no extreme measures to sustain life