When is a patient referred for hospice care?
Potential Hospice patients are those who, with reasonable certainty, have a terminal condition with a prognosis of six months or less. There is no restriction on the type of condition as long as it satisfies the aforementioned criteria. Thus, it may be anything from a malignancy to end stage dementia to plain old age. The earlier a patient is referred to Hospice, the more they are able to benefit from the support and care the Hospice teams provide. There is a misconception that Hospice should be reserved for those who are at the extreme end of life, and while we are able to be of great service to those in this situation, there are distinct advantages to early referral including a broader array of services provided, providing necessary medications through the Hospice pharmacy benefit, family support, and long term relationships with care providers.