Transitioning to end-of-life care is not always an easy decision to make, but can provide immense benefits to both the patient and their loved ones. Focusing on maintaining the patient’s quality of life and providing psychosocial support for both patients and their caregivers, hospice works to help reduce the stress of living with a life-limiting illness. Importantly, families who choose to engage hospice often report higher patient satisfaction then those who forego care. Hospice satisfaction also increases over time, so it is worthwhile to consider engaging a hospice provider sooner rather than later when faced with an end stage diagnosis.
Hospice is most often provided wherever the patient calls home, including in senior care communities, although in-patient facilities are available as well. Home-based care is often the preferred choice as it lets patients remain in comforting, familiar surroundings. Family or friends who are caregivers receive the support of a team of Hospice professionals who visit on a regular as-needed basis. Care is completely personalized, so visits are scheduled according to the patient’s unique needs – which may change over time.
This is undeniably a difficult transition in life, but having a qualified hospice program walk alongside you can help relieve some of the stress and uncertainty. If hospice care sounds like the right choice for your loved one, you may now be wondering what are the hospice eligibility criteria?
For a patient to receive hospice care, there are a number of hospice eligibility guidelines that providers consider. To begin with, a physician must certify that a patient’s life expectancy is six months or less. However, know that recertification is allowed, so hospice care can continue longer than six months if needed.
Certain diagnoses make a patient eligible for hospice care. These include, but are not limited to, cancer, heart disease, pulmonary disease, renal disease, dementia, and stroke.
Hospice criteria also requires that all curative treatments must be stopped, but treatments focused on patient comfort can continue. This is a hard step for many to take and patient wishes need to align with physician recommendations. If a patient is not ready to stop treatments, palliative care, which provides comfort care alongside curative treatments, can provide the extra support they need.
Physicians will also consider the following about the patient’s health status when making a hospice recommendation:
Know that you do not need to wait for a physician to make a recommendation or referral for hospice care. If you feel that this is the right direction for your loved one, you can request the service yourself – either by asking for a referral from your doctor or by contacting your chosen hospice service directly.
If your loved one meets the hospice eligibility requirements, hospice care offers a number of benefits for both patients and their loved ones.
Deciding to move forward with hospice care is a very difficult and emotional step to take. However, knowing that your loved one is comfortable and supported can bring great peace overall. If you are interested in learning more about hospice eligibility criteria, and how Abramson Hospice can partner with your family, please call 215.371.1393.