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When is it Time to Start Hospice Care?

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

According to this article by Forbes that addresses common misconceptions and questions about hospice care, there are several major points to contemplate to help determine if it's the right time for hospice:

  • For people on Medicare, almost all of the costs associated with hospice care are covered for terminally ill patients with a Doctor certified life expectancy of six months or less.

  • While hospice care will result in the termination of any treatment of the specific causes of the terminal illness, it will cover treatment, medications, and any equipment needs for care of a variety of other medical issues. Hospice also provides care for the patient and the family’s emotional, social, and spiritual needs in addition to managing patient pain through palliative care.

  • Hospice care is generally given at home (wherever that may be), although it can be given at acute care facilities, nursing facilities, and in other clinical settings.

  • It's important to evaluate whether the patient wants to or is likely to get better through utilizing conventional treatment or if it is just prolonging their suffering. Chronic conditions and severity of illness are key factors as well.

  • While many view hospice as giving up, it is not. It is a wonderful way to clinically manage patients (focusing on comfort vs improving overall health) who are not interested in pursuing aggressive curative treatments.

  • Talking to a hospice provider can help you get questions answered and determine if hospice is the right choice or not. They can also go over the specific types of care that would be provided.

"Hospice is less about what we think modern medicine should do and more about finding a small sense of serenity in one’s final moments."

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