3 Questions to ask yourself
1. Is the patient facing a life-limiting disease or condition?
Most conditions associated with hospice care are:
- Cardiac and circulatory diseases
- Respiratory Diseases
Other conditions include end-stage liver and kidney disease and other degenerative neurological diseases.
2. Is the patient showing signs of decline?
The following factors may indicate it is an appropriate time to discuss hospice care:
- A doctor has certified the patient has six months or less to live if the condition/disease follows its normal course
- Curative treatments (medications, chemotherapy, rehab, etc.) are no longer effective or create side effects that prolong suffering, discomfort, and pain
- The patient has decided to stop testing, hospitalizations, and treatments in favor of palliative care
- The patient is increasingly unable to perform the activities of daily living (personal hygiene, dressing, eating, maintaining continence, transferring)
- Over 4-6 months, the patient has experienced any of these:
- Loss of 10% or more of body weight
- More than 3 hospitalizations or emergency room visits
- Presence of other co-morbid conditions
- Declining physical activity
- Declining mental alertness/cognition
3. Have you taken the patient’s wishes into consideration?
If the patient has made it clear that certain procedures or innervations should not be pursued in the face of a life-limiting illness, the hospice team can craft a care plan that honors the patient’s wishes while focusing on the quality, not the quantity, of time that remains.
If you have questions about hospice appropriateness, contact our admissions liaison. Our staff will be able to answer questions and meet with the family at no cost. Aided by this information, you’ll have a better sense of when the time is right for hospice care.