Hospice care is for people with a life-limiting illness who want comfort care rather than curative treatment. A physician must certify that the person’s life expectancy is six months or less, but that time frame is flexible. Services can be extended beyond six months. Some people go on and off hospice care as their conditions change. Some people “graduate” from hospice because they get better.
It is time to consider hospice care when one or more of these circumstances apply: loss of function or physical decline; increase in hospitalizations; dependence in most activities of daily living; multiple diseases or conditions; increase in emergency room visits, and continuing weight loss.
In addition, each disease has its own criteria indicating hospice eligibility. For example, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is a terminal illness that can run its course over a decade. Hospice eligibility occurs when the person with dementia exhibits one or more of the following: unable to walk without assistance, incontinence, speech limited to a few words, difficulty swallowing or eating, and continuing weight loss.
Anyone can contact Hospice of the Valley for help to decide whether hospice care is appropriate. Click here to contact us.