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How Do You Know When it’s Time for Hospice?

How do you know when it's time for hospice care

Hospice care is intended to be the place where a patient is to spend the last few months of their lives. It is not a medical facility that will help them recover from an illness, but instead is a place that ensures a patient is not in pain and discomfort prior to passing away.

Mary T Inc hospice service in Coon Rapids, MN offers exceptional care for hospice patients. Entering hospice care can be a difficult decision to make, but it’s not a decision that should be delayed.

Qualifications for Hospice Care

There’s not a real cut and dry answer to exactly who needs to consider hospice care, or when. But, there are a couple of qualifications that a patient must meet to be able to enter hospice care. After they meet those, it then becomes a patient or family decision to make the official call.

To be eligible for hospice care, a patient must have a terminal diagnosis and a life expectancy of less than 6 months. Once these 2 criteria have been met and certified by a physician, there are a number of other factors to consider. These factors can typically be seen progressing in a similar pattern:

  1. The patient’s disease keeps recurring, often more frequently and with greater severity. Often, infections continue to worsen with bacteria becoming more and more resistant to treatment, or a cancer spreads even with treatment.
  2. Trips to the emergency department or hospital become more and more frequent.
  3. The patient experiences changes in appetite, mood, or desire to live with their condition. Desire for treatment wanes.
  4. Treatments begin to cause more and more side effects that cause pain and discomfort.
  5. Quality of life suffers as mobility and motivation decrease. These lead to a lack of independence and the requirement of more and more help just to complete daily tasks. This can be as severe as inability to brush teeth and use the bathroom independently.
  6. Mental state changes can be seen frequently, especially with longer courses of medications, advancing age, and advancing disease. Confusion, forgetfulness, drowsiness, poor sleep, restlessness, and agitation can all be noted.
  7. All of the symptoms and health management take a toll on the family. Commonly, the family becomes the driver of the healthcare and the patient’s daily activities until a discussion takes place and a decision is made.

A quality hospice care service focuses on making the last few months of life as comfortable as possible. The above list is a common outline of the progression of care until a decision for hospice is reached. It’s imperative to have this discussion and make the choice that’s in everyone’s best interest. A patient’s last 6 months need not be stressful. Allow everyone a time to be together, happy, and celebrating the life they lived. Don’t allow it to be a stressful time of trying to keep them alive to the very end, only for them to become confused and agitated. When a patient is no longer interested in invasive treatments or repeated hospital visits, it’s time for hospice care.

Can you be taken off hospice?

Absolutely. Hospice care is not a final death sentence for yourself or for a loved one that cannot be changed. It’s simply a choice to pursue comfort care over treatment a terminal diagnosis. Hospice care can be revoked and treatment resumed, but remember, hospice care provides for a situation for a quality time at the end of one’s life. Aggressive treatment will usually be the opposite, so care must be taken to reverse the decision.

If you have any questions about whether or not it’s time to choose hospice care, contact Mary T Inc right away. Don’t delay getting the proper care for your loved one and making decisions while there is still time and everyone can be involved.