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When Is It Time to Call Hospice?

Sooner rather than later

Determining When Hospice Is Appropriate

The short answer is now. If you are caring for or worrying about a loved one who is elderly or very ill, it is never too soon to start educating yourself. It’s best to learn about hospice care and ask questions in advance so you know what to expect. Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it’s important for loved ones and family members to share their wishes before it becomes a concern. Hospice opens the door to a quality of life that would otherwise be unavailable. Our primary goal is to support making the most of a patient’s remaining time.

Disease-Specific Indicators

Common illnesses appropriate for hospice care include the later stages of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, AIDS, and ALS, among others. Patients diagnosed with these illnesses are eligible for hospice care when their physician determines that, given the natural course of the illness, life expectancy is six months or less. You, your loved one or your physician may request an evaluation to see if hospice is an appropriate option for care.
ALZHEIMERS
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 55 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are life-altering and interfere with daily life. Hospice can help those experiencing symptoms relating to Alzheimer’s Disease by controlling pain, relieving anxiety and improving quality of life. Due to the slow progression of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, it can be difficult for family members to determine when a patient becomes eligible for hospice care. We recommend starting the conversation as early as possible. Patients who meet the hospice requirements for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia can receive care wherever the patient calls home.
PULMONARY/LUNG DISEASE COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and refractory (non-reversible) asthma. Hospice care helps patients cope with end-stage COPD by alleviating pain and discomfort caused by a restricted ability to breathe. Due to the slow progression of COPD, it can be difficult for family members to determine when a patient becomes eligible for hospice care. We recommend starting the conversation as early as possible. Patients who meet the hospice requirements for COPD can receive care wherever the patient calls home.
CANCER
According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second most common death in the United States. While treatment for cancer is often successful, there may come a time when treatment is no longer effective or the patient may decide they no longer wish to pursue curative treatment. If a cancer patient is eligible for hospice, our hospice care team provides comprehensive symptom management for a wide range of cancer-related issues. Patients who meet the hospice requirements for cancer can receive care wherever the patient calls home.
CARDIAC DISEASE (CHF)
Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure (CHF), is a condition that develops when your heart doesn’t pump enough blood for your body’s needs. Hospice care helps patients cope with end-stage terminal heart disease by alleviating the mental, emotional and physical distress caused by their illness. Our hospice care team provides an extra layer of support for patients with CHF to help control patient symptoms at home to avoid unnecessary hospital visits. Individuals with CHF or other types of end-stage cardiac conditions are good indications of hospice eligibility. Patients who meet the hospice requirements for CHF can receive care wherever the patient calls home.
STROKE OR CEREBROVASCULAR ACCIDENT (CVA)
According to the CDC, Stroke, or a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. A stroke occurs when the brain is deprived of blood supply. The goal of hospice care after a stroke is to keep the patient comfortable and free from pain.
NEUROLOGICAL CONDITIONS
Patients with an end-stage neurological condition including Non-Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s, MS, ALS, Huntington disease and other neurological conditions are eligible for hospice care. Our hospice care team develops a personalized care plan to meet each patient’s individual needs. Due to the progressive nature of neurological conditions, it can be challenging for families to know the right time for hospice support. Mission Healthcare is available for more information to determine what is right for you.
LIVER DISEASE
Liver disease encompasses many diseases and disorders that cause the liver to function improperly or stop functioning. When a patient meets end-stage liver disease hospice eligibility requirements, including a life expectancy of six months or less, patients and families may benefit from hospice. Our hospice care team relieves pain, controls symptoms, improves quality of life and reduces anxiety for patients and family for those in the end stages of liver disease.
HIV/AIDS
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a disease which causes the body’s own immune system to attack itself. If left untreated, HIV can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It currently has no cure. The goal of hospice care is to control these symptoms and provide comfort and relief from pain. Patients who meet the hospice requirements for HIV or AIDS can receive care wherever the patient calls home.
RENAL DISEASE
End-stage kidney disease, also called renal disease, occurs when the kidneys are so badly damaged that the patient cannot survive without dialysis or kidney transplant. When a patient chooses to end treatment, our hospice care team develops a personalized care plan to keep the patient comfortable and control end-stage kidney failure symptoms. Patients who meet the hospice requirements for end-stage renal/kidney disease can receive care wherever the patient calls home.
HOSPICE QUIZ

Is it time to consider hospice?

Many families tell us their only regret is not having called us sooner. Hospice care provides an extra layer of care and support to patients and families in the home, long-term care facilities, assisted living or retirement communities and hospitals. Hospice is 100% covered by Medicare for all eligible patients. Answer these questions to determine if hospice care could help your situation.
1. Fallen several times in the past 6 months?*
2. Experienced weight loss making clothes noticeably looser?*
3. Started spending most of the day in a chair or a bed?*
4. Made more frequent phone calls or visits to your physicians?*
5. Been hospitalized or gone to the ER in the past 6 months?*
6. Noticed shortness of breath, even while resting?*
7. Started taking medication to lessen physical pain?*
8. Been diagnosed with a serious illness?*
9. Needing more help to perform daily activities such as bathing, getting in/out of bed, dressing, eating or walking?*
10. Been told by a doctor that life expectancy is limited?*
Name

DISCOVER YOUR OPTIONS

Start the Conversation about Hospice

When experiencing a terminal illness, the sooner a person elects hospice care, the more they will benefit from our services and enjoy precious time with a loved one. Let our hospice team ease your worries and prepare you for this transition by answering any questions you may have about when is the right time for hospice.