When is it time for hospice care?
When medical treatments are no longer effective, care becomes focused on comfort and symptom relief. Generally, someone enters hospice when the physician believes life expectancy to be six months or less.
Patients generally live longer and experience a better quality of life when they’re on hospice care. – Dr. James Tiede, Associate Medical Director
It may be time for hospice when:
- Continuing curative treatment seems to increase suffering without providing a postive change in the patient’s condition.
- There is a transition from aggressive to comfort-oriented care.
- A family shows signs of stress or fatigue, and is overwhelmed with the responsibilities of care.
- A hospital discharge results in the need for in-home services.
- Increased hospital visits or trips to the emergency room result in a comfort-measures only outcome.
- The patient desires a palliative (comfort care only) approach to the management of pain or other symptoms.
Hospice is most effective when there is time to:
- Fully assess needs and strengths
- Develop a personal plan of care
- Develop a relationship of trust between the hospice family and the hospice care team
A timely referral to hospice helps assure
- Best comfort and quality of life for the patient
- Support and information for the patient, family and caregivers
- A coordinated approach to holistic care
- Potential cost savings to patient and family