The earlier a referral to hospice is made, the sooner you can start taking advantage of all the benefits that hospice care has to offer and do to enhance a better quality of life. Hospice professionals are experts in pain and symptom management, but that is just the beginning. Hospice care involves a team of experts that offer patients and their family’s emotional and spiritual support as well. Hospice care is individualized and focuses on helping our patients and their loved ones best cope with their illness in a holistic manner, treating the whole individual, not just their disease.
A referral to hospice care can be made by anyone, not just a physician or healthcare professional. A patient, their family or loved ones can request an evaluation to see if they qualify to receive hospice care. Qualifications to receive this benefit include being diagnosed with a “life-limiting illness” with a life expectancy of 6 months or less (if the disease were to follow its expected course). There are no specific age, or disease restrictions – any disease that is in the terminal stages, may qualify someone to receive hospice care. Patients can continue to receive hospice care for an indefinite period of time, as long as they continue to meet the guidelines and criteria as set forth by Medicare. Each case is reviewed at set periods of time, to ensure they continue to meet criteria. A patient can choose to stop hospice care at any time, for any reason. For example, to pursue aggressive treatment.
Once A Referral To Hospice Has Been Made
Once a referral to hospice is made, the patient is evaluated to see if they meet medical criteria. If they do and choose to elect hospice care, then the hospice will reach out to the primary physician to move forward. If a patient does not have a local/primary physician, one of our Medical Directors can complete the process and oversee care moving forward.
Not only do patients experience a better quality of life with hospice care, they sometimes actually live longer than they would with conventional care. That means extra weeks or months that can be spent with family, friends and loved ones. With the support of the hospice team including physicians, nurses, social workers, and home health aides, your burdens are eased in many ways.
Hospice should be one of the care options you discuss with your family and physician, or our Admission Nurse Specialists. CompassionCare responds within 30 minutes after receiving a referral and request for an evaluation, we are available 7 days a week to respond to your needs.