When should you call hospice?
While only those with a life expectancy of six months or less is eligible, the best time to call is soon after a terminal diagnosis is made by the patient's private physician or specialist. Hospice staff can answer questions and help you to understand what lies ahead and when you would be eligible for hospice as well as offering other options for care that you may not have considered. At all times the patient and family wishes and choices are taken into consideration.
Hospice staff can answer questions and bring patients and families peace of mind. While it is never too early to contact us, all too often people wait until it is too late for us to make a real difference - hospice is there to help patients to LIVE through their final months, so the sooner you contact us the better for the patient and their loved ones and caregivers. A common statement that we receive on our Patient Satisfaction Surveys from family following the death of a loved one is, "We wish we had called sooner."
A patient with a prognosis of 6 months or less is eligible for hospice services, though care may continue beyond that time. There is no "magic" figure but a timely admission allows hospice to work with the patient and family for several months before death. This normally results in more successful pain management, greater conflict resolution and preparation for death, and a higher level of long term well being for survivors.
Eligibility varies by individual, the illness they are living with and many other factors. In general, if treatment no longer works or is no longer desired, or significant decline in status has occured, then you should call the hospice office nearest you to discuss the options available to you.