Hospice care is an ideal solution for people who are facing life-limiting illnesses. Doctors recommend this high level of support to ensure the quality of life. Also, hospice services provide everything from mental support, pain management, grief resources, symptom management, and more.
Hospice might feel like a big decision for your family to make for a loved one. But there are undeniable benefits to bringing in a hospice care provider – both for the patient and the family.
Qualifying for Hospice Care Services
For a patient to receive hospice care, a doctor must determine that their health condition has reached a terminal point, which means the disease has progressed, and it is expected that the person has 6 months or less.
There are specific requirements that must be met for hospice services to be paid for through insurance or Medicare. Our team is here to answer your questions if you are trying to determine if you or a loved one qualifies for hospice.
It’s important to note that hospice care is only for people who no longer receive curative care treatments. If a person is working with a treatment team, palliative care is a better fit for managing symptoms and side effects.
Hospice Isn’t a Final Path
One of the biggest misconceptions about hospice care is that choosing these services will speed up the timeline of when you must say goodbye. The truth is that hospice helps improve the person’s quality of life, enabling them to maximize the remaining time.
In fact, it’s common for patients to experience an improvement in their health when a hospice plan begins. The good thing is that hospice and home care services are changeable, which means the care plan can be adjusted as the patient’s condition improves or deteriorates.
If the person and/or family chooses to discontinue hospice, then it’s necessary to re-qualify through a doctor when the services are needed again in the future.
Recovery in Hospice
Even though patients are no longer receiving curative treatments during hospice, it’s possible for the patient’s health condition to improve. For example, the person’s illness might go into remission, which means they no longer need hospice services. Likewise, if the doctor determines that the patient no longer has a 6-moth prognosis, then the patient is no longer “terminally ill.”
According to a recent report from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, 6.3% of hospice patients experience recovery or improved heath while receiving hospice services. Another report from NPR states that one in five hospice patients are discharged while still alive.
If recovery occurs, the family and medical care providers can work together to determine the ideal level of care needed. For example, you might choose to transition from hospice care to palliative or home health services.
When the disease goes into remission, the doctors and nurses shift their focus to prioritize regular checks and monitoring if the person’s health changes in the coming months. Finally, the medical care team will put together a discharge and transition plan to support the family in what needs to happen after leaving hospice.
Why Health Improvements Without Curative Treatments?
Why do some patients get better with hospice care, even though they aren’t receiving curative treatments? Possible reasons might include:
- Nutritional needs being met
- More consistent medical care
- Higher level of personal attention
- Boost in social interaction
The goal is to improve the person’s quality of life, which can have a positive benefit on their overall health and wellness in the process.
When Should Hospice Services Discontinue?
Patients receiving hospice care can benefit from improvements in their overall care, including hands-on medical care, companionship, communication, diet interventions, medication management, and more. Many factors can play a role in supporting a person’s health improvements.
It’s not clear when a patient’s health improves to the point where they are in recovery. Even ongoing healthcare providers can’t pinpoint the moment when a patient’s condition shifts from terminal to recovery or remission.
Sometimes, hospice care is part of the overall change that helps a person recover for reasons unknown. When many circumstances are in place to support the person’s needs, overall physical, mental, and emotional improvements can happen.
Choosing to Stop Hospice Care
If the patient’s health is improving, the doctor might recommend ending hospice care. At the same time, families always have the option to discontinue hospice services if they desire.
“Revoking” hospice care means that the patient and/or family decides to end hospice care without the doctor’s consent.
One of the most common reasons for this decision is that the patient wants to try curative treatments again. For example, they might choose to end hospice services to have surgery or other types of curative services.
Another reason families end hospice is because they are transferring from one hospice provider to another. For example, a person might be receiving hospice care in a skilled nursing facility. The family can choose to end these services for the alternative of moving the person home with in-home hospice care.
When Hospice Providers Choose to Discharge a Patient
Additionally, sometimes a hospice provider chooses to discharge a patient from services. This situation can happen for several reasons:
- The patient is no longer terminally ill
- The patient moves to another location that is outside the service area
- The patient passes away
- The patient’s or family’s behavior is against hospice policy and stands in the way of providers giving services to the patient
Hospice is Patient-Centered Care
Hospice services are designed to be patient-centered care, which means that the services are always adjusted as needed. If, for any reason, the family or patient decides that it is best to discontinue hospice services, then changes can be made.
Ultimately, the goal is to offer personalized care to ensure the patient’s medical needs are being met while also improving their overall quality of life as much as possible.
The most important consideration is what the patient needs. So, it’s important for medical providers and family members to ensure that hospice services continue or end without profit-driven motivations. Choosing a reputable hospice provider is a critical step to ensure that the patient’s needs are always put first.
Hospice Consultation with Medical Experts
How do you know when it is the right time to start or end hospice services? The key is to maintain ongoing communication with your provider. Our team offers hands-on support that prioritizes the needs of the patient and their family members.
For more information about hospice, as well as other services such as personal home care and home health services, reach out to our team at Avatar Healthcare. You can contact us online or call our team at (844) 422-5528.