Determining When It's Time For Hospice

When a terminal illness has been diagnosed (life expectancy less than six months), and cure-oriented treatment is no longer being pursued, hospice is an option. Determining when to turn to hospice is never an easy decision.

Hospice does not take away hope, it changes what you hope for:

  • Hope to be pain free and comfortable
  • Hope that your family will be supported
  • Hope to enjoy things and people you love
  • Hope to get your affairs in order

Signs That You and Your Family Are Ready for Hospice

  • You and/or your family, desires only comfort measures be given.
  • You no longer desire to be hospitalized or treated in the emergency room.
  • You, or your family, have noted that you have lost weight and have had a decrease in appetite.
  • You have been admitted to the hospital frequently for symptom management.
  • You are not “bouncing back” to usual level of function after repeated illnesses.
  • Your physician feels that there is no further medical treatment available.

Will Our Doctor Tell Us When It’s Time for Hospice?

Sometimes your doctor is the first to mention Hospice. Other times, you or your family seek information. Hospice is not giving up hope. Hospice is all about living as fully as you can. It is important that you and your doctor talk openly and share the same goals for maintaining quality of life. Hospice is an option for comfort and care, which in many cases may actually lengthen life and increases the quality of the time remaining. Patients and families can benefit most from Hospice care when they seek support earlier rather than in a crisis.

Signs That Your Family Could Benefit From Hospice

  • You, or your caregivers, are physically and/or emotionally exhausted from provided care.
  • Your family is feeling isolated because of care-giving demands or the uncertainties of what is to come.
  • You or your family begin to feel overwhelmed physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually due to your illness.
  • You or members of your family need emotional support to cope with the situation.

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