How Hospice Works
Individuals are usually referred to hospice by their personal physician, although individuals can be referred by their families or even by themselves. You don’t have to wait until your physician brings up hospice. You can take the initiative by beginning the discussion with your doctor, or you can request an evaluation directly from a hospice program at any time. If you are not sure you are ready or if you think you want hospice but need more specific information to help you decide, you can call Hospice of the Foothills to schedule a personal visit to begin the conversation.
Hospice usually begins very shortly after a referral for those with a physician certified life limiting illness. The hospice registered nurse evaluates what the person and family needs and develops a plan of care. The plan addresses the entire family’s needs: medical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and support services. The nurse then coordinates the care with Hospice of the Foothills medical director, your personal physician and the full interdisciplinary team of health professionals. Under the direction of a physician, hospice provides an all-inclusive set of services needed to manage all of a person’s symptoms and complications.
The Hospice Benefit Is Flexible
Initially, a physician certifies that the patient has a life expectancy of six months or less, if the disease follows its normal course. The first two certifications are for 90 days each. Thereafter, the physician re-certifies eligibility every 60 days. As long as the patient is re-certified, he/she remains eligible for hospice, even when the timeline exceeds six months.
Can I Change My Mind?
A person may elect to end their hospice care at any time and then may receive hospice care again, if desired, at a later date. For example, an individual can leave hospice to try a new curative treatment and return to hospice, if they still meet the program criteria of a six month life expectancy.