Much too often, referrals to hospice are made too late, before a patient and family have the chance to benefit from all of the services hospice actually has to offer. The sooner a patient is referred, the better. Many say that the only regret they have about hospice is not signing on sooner.
Hospice care may be appropriate for any person with a life-limiting illness or terminal diagnosis who is ready to stop curative treatments. To be eligible, a physician must certify a prognosis of 6 months or less, if the disease runs its expected normal course. A persons physician, family member, neighbor, or even the person themselves can recommend hospice and request an evaluation for services. Patients can also keep hospice beyond the 6 months (with physician approval and continuing to meet criteria) and can cancel hospice services at any time if they choose.
Selecting the best hospice provider is very important. Ultimately it is the patient’s decision of who they want to receive hospice services from. Hospices that accept Medicare insurance, and most do, provide the same basic services. However, there still may be differences between providers that might make one a better choice for you than the other. The best way to really know is to compare – narrow your choices, pick a few agencies, and interview them to find the best fit for you and your family.
Click on the link below to watch a short video clip on the hospice referral process.