How Does Hospice Work? [Infographic]
You’ve probably heard about how hospice benefits patients and their families.
But how does hospice work? And when to call hospice?
We’ll take a look at these questions and let you know how to get started if you or someone you know needs hospice care.
Hospice creates a comprehensive plan that cares for not only the patient but the entire family. Hospice goes far above just providing medical care. They also look after the emotional, psychological and spiritual needs. Hospice serves the whole family.
This care manages the person’s symptoms and serves him or her wherever they call home, whether it’s a residence, nursing home or another facility.
How Does Hospice Work?
1. First, You Must Meet the Qualifications.
Not everyone qualifies for hospice. It’s designed for those with a life-limiting illness who have six months or less to live. In order to qualify for hospice, you cannot be seeking curative treatment. Curative treatment means that you are trying to cure the disease.
Hospice focuses on making you comfortable, providing pain relief and enabling you to have a higher quality of life. It does not try to cure you.
Many people may think hospice is only for those with cancer. This is not true. It also serves those with diseases such as ALS, kidney failure, AIDS and heart failure.
Essentially, anyone with a serious disease who has six months or less to live can qualify for hospice care as long as they are not seeking treatment for the disease.
2. Second, You Need to Have a Referral.
Referral? That sounds complicated.
Don’t worry. It’s not.
Most people are referred to hospice by their physician.
But did you know that individuals can also be referred by their families? Or that they can even refer themselves?
Getting a referral to hospice is simple. Just call the hospice organization. Remember that there may be more than one hospice serving your area. Some may be for-profit and others are non-profit. This is important to remember if you’re wondering who pays for hospice?
3. Third, the Hospice Organization Will Contact You.
Expect to hear from the hospice organization. Typically this occurs within 48 hours after you’ve been referred. However, it could happen sooner, depending upon the situation.
4. Fourth, the Hospice Representative Visits.
This next step is important because it will help outline your health care plan. In the weeks that follow, you’ll get to know your health care team. This team includes:
- Nursing assistants
- Trained volunteers
- Social workers
Perhaps one of the most common things hospice workers hear is “I wish I had called hospice sooner.” By contacting hospice earlier, you or your loved one can avoid unnecessary suffering and pain.
As mentioned earlier, hospice is for those who have six months or less to live and are not seeking curative treatment. [Learn more: Is Hospice for the Dying Only?]
If you’re not clear if you or a loved one qualifies for hospice, we encourage you to talk to your doctor or health care team. They will have the answers you want and need.
There are also several signs that you or someone you love may need hospice care. These include:
- An inability to perform daily tasks
- Increased number of infections
- Frequent falls
- Changes in mental abilities
- Frequent visits to the ER
- Progressive weight loss
- Skin tears
If you see these signs repeatedly, it is time to contact your local hospice.
What If the Condition Improves? Do I Have to Stay in Hospice?
If the condition improves, you have the option to leave hospice care. However, you’ll still be able to resume hospice at a later date if your condition gets worse.
Do You Have More Questions About Hospice?
We have a lot of information on this site that can help you. We’re also adding new content and answering new questions regularly.
Take a few minutes to read answers to some frequently asked questions about hospice.
Are you in a hurry or busy?
If you don’t have time to continue reading now, just enter your email below. We’ll send you the most important information we’ve put together via email, and you can read it at your convenience.