Whether Your Caree Receives Hospice Hinges on the Physician


Whether Your Caree Receives Hospice Hinges on the Physician

hands-736244_640Research released yesterday says that a physician is the most important factor in whether or not a patient receives hospice care. Meaning, physician who refer to hospice, refer to hospice. But, if your caree's physician doesn't refer to hospice, then your caree won't be referred to hospice.

You may wonder if you caree may be appropriate for hospice care but decide your caree's doctor will tell you when the time has arrived. It's important to note that some physicians will wait too long or simply won't refer your caree to hospice.

Hospice will be appropriate when your caree has six months or less to live. You'll want to consider hospice services when your caree has:

  • frequent hospitalizations;

  • progressive weight loss;

  • deteriorating mental abilities;

  • recurrent infections;

  • overall decline in condition;

  • increase in ER visits.

Hospice services include nursing care, social services, spiritual care, home health aides, volunteer support, physical, occupational and speech therapies, respite care (so you can take a break) and bereavement support.

The conversation about hospice shouldn't happen during your caree's last few weeks. (Read "Save the Wait for the DMV.") It's an ongoing discussion between you, your caree and your caree's physician. I believe it's important to ask your caree's physician to be upfront with you (and your caree, as appropriate) about prognosis so that you can make informed decisions about when it's time for hospice. You may think the physician will take the lead in these discussions; it's important that you do.

I've lost count of how many family caregivers told me that they regret waiting too long for hospice. It's such a battle with regrets; win this one by being in front of the conversation.

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That's an interesting thought about medicare, I believe I will arm myself with some info and talk to my mom's doctor. I really don't know where he stands, and it is taking some time just to get the POLST completed.


Thanks for this post, Denise. I agree with you that too many caregivers wait until too late in the game. Perhaps they can't accept the fact that the end is near. I know of one caregiver whose husband has advanced pancreatic cancer and is in a very deteriorated state. He wants hospice but she wants him to keep fighting. It's so sad. I made a vow to myself that I'm not going to be one of those who waits too long. And as with just about every other aspect of my husband's illness, I'm not going to assume the doctor will tell me \"what I need to know when I need to know it.\"


Unfortunately, my experience with the Hospice referral I got for Elly was that she didn't qualify because the Hospice worker said she needed to have certain Organ failures before she would be considered for Hospice. Kidney failure didn't count and her heart is very strong. They were very nice and said they would come back for another evaluation if things changed. I think the bottom line was that Medicare would only pay for hospice services if those conditions were present. There are several Hospice groups in our city so I was wondering if there may be differences in when they offer their services.


Denise,\r\n Thanks for this post it explains so much about Hospice. Hospice is a wonderful service!