In general, patients must meet the following criteria to be eligible for hospice care:
- Adults with a prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course
- A prognosis that is certified by the patient’s primary care physician as well as the hospice medical director
- Both the patient and family desire palliative care as opposed to curative treatment
- Hospice can continue beyond six months as long as the patient continues to meet eligibility criteria
Is it too early?
A common misconception about hospice care is that a referral can be premature. Hospice care is the most effective over a period of months, yet most hospice patients die within a month of referral based on the reluctance to refer patients earlier or at all.
An early referral can provide your patients with extra attention and focused hospice care that relieves symptoms and manages pain. It also offers patients and families a vital opportunity to deal with their loss and say goodbye.