The doctors will do everything possible to keep their patients alive and heal them. They’ll wait until the very last minute to mention hospice. So, like everything else, the advocate must ask to speak with a hospice representative.
People generally tend to wait much too long for hospice services. That is because most of us don’t truly understand what hospice is and the services provided to the patient and their circle of caregivers.
Here are some lessons I learned:
- Hospice is a continuation of the care service line, just like physical, occupational and speech therapy, and home health care.
- Hospice is about “quality of life” vs. “quantity of life.” The treatment is for symptoms, not to cure the disease.
- Hospice will forego all curative and heroic measures so the patient can live their life until they die a natural death from the disease process.
- There are four levels of hospice care: routine home care, respite care in a certified Medicare facility, continuous home care and general in-patient care provided in a hospital setting. All levels are offered by every hospice agency, and each level of care must be determined by the medical team.
- Patients are required to meet eligibility and criteria to be under the hospice service line. Criteria is determined by the hospice agency. You must ask for a referral to hospice.