Today we will continue discussion to alleviate fears surrounding hospice. We feel that knowledge is the best way to relieve fears. The more you know about hospice, the less “scary” it may sound.

Suppose you have just received the devastating news that your current treatment plan is not curing your disease. Maybe this was the final option in treating your illness. Or maybe you’re tired of fighting, tired of the medication side effects, or just ready to stop interventions and let nature take its course. It is perfectly acceptable to stop curative treatment and focus on living comfortably. You are not “giving up”; you are choosing to live your remaining time to the fullest. Often times, patients’ quality of life improves while on hospice because they are relieved of the negative side effects of curative medications and the focus of their care shifts to comfort and pain relief.

There are many diseases that can qualify a patient for hospice, but often, it is not just one single disease, but a disease accompanied by particular comorbidities or complications. Some examples include, but are not limited to: 
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease
Heart Disease/CHF
Huntington’s Disease
Liver Disease
Lung Disease/COPD
Multiple Sclerosis
Muscular Dystrophy
Parkinson’s Disease
Renal Failure

In order to be admitted to hospice, two physicians must certify that you have a life expectancy of six months or less if your disease takes its expected course. This can be your primary physician or specialist (ie oncologist), plus our hospice medical director. If your primary care provider is a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, their collaborating physician can certify. Your primary care provider (physician, NP, PA) can remain involved in your hospice care, or they can relinquish your care to our Hospice Medical Director.

Contrary to home health services through Medicare, you do NOT have to meet “homebound criteria” to qualify for hospice. In fact, we encourage our patients and their families to remain active as much as possible.

With the ever-changing regulations in healthcare, some providers may not know for sure if you qualify for hospice. If you or your provider wonder if you are a candidate for hospice, our qualified staff can review medical records or do a consultation to see if you meet hospice criteria.