Criteria for Eligibility
Hospice is a very unique kind of care, provided by an interdisciplinary team of specially trained healthcare professionals, designed to provide comfort and support for patients and their families during the final stages of life. To be eligible for hospice care, the patient’s doctor and the hospice medical director must certify that the patient has a life expectancy of six months or less, if the disease progression were to run its normal course. Additionally, when a patient elects the hospice benefit they have accepted a goal of treatment focused on palliative care, comfort and relief from pain and symptoms.
Any disease process in the terminal stage is appropriate for hospice care and we have included in another tab some of the most common hospice diagnoses. However, there are some fairly predictable clinical indicators of hospice appropriateness.
Observational Clinical Deterioration
· Unintentional weight loss > 10% TBW over past 3-6 months
· Decreased appetite/nutritional intake related to the terminal condition
· Decreased activity tolerance
· Increased ADL dependency
· Decreased cognitive ability
· Multiple ER visits in last 3-6 months
· Frequent hospitalizations
· Progressive renal insufficiency
· Increased 02 dependency
· Progressive edema
· Recurrent infections
· Overall decline in condition
Which of your patients might benefit from hospice care?
· Individuals with an illness causing a limited life expectancy of 6 months or less, if the disease runs its normal course.
· Individuals who have chosen palliative care that focuses on symptom management rather than curative treatment
· Individuals who choose no extreme measures to sustain life