It’s a good question to ask. Are you eligible for hospice? The answer is important because:
The most common regret of people on hospice care is that they hadn’t started it sooner.
That’s why once you qualify—or even a little before—you and your family might want to start talking about bringing hospice care into your life. (If you’d like some guidance on how to have that difficult conversation in a compassionate way, download our guide.)
Two Basic Qualifications
Here’s the simplest answer to the eligibility question. If both of these statements describe you, then you qualify for hospice:
- Your doctor and the hospice medical director certify that you are likely to live only six months or fewer. (Another Option: The hospice medical director can function as your primary doctor, so you only need one certification.)
- You agree that the hospice philosophy is right for you: You want to focus on comfort care rather than curative care.
How Doctors Decide If You Qualify for Hospice
Your doctor will assess you in a number of ways, using requirements created by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. You don’t need to have all of these symptoms to qualify. They’re just guidelines for the doctor.
- Is your pain increasing or uncontrolled?
- Do you continue to lose weight?
- Are you having more trouble taking care of your daily needs (eating, dressing, toileting)?
- Is your health getting worse (recurring infections, frequent trips to the ER, more falls)?
- Has your mental ability/cognition declined (sleeping a lot, confusion, new memory issues)?
- Do you refuse to go to the hospital?
Guidelines for Your Primary Diagnosis
To qualify you for hospice, your doctor also considers specific eligibility criteria for your particular life-limiting disease (e.g., cancer, heart disease, pulmonary disease, kidney disease).
Ask Lifespark Hospice
Maybe this information feels overwhelming. Or maybe you still have some questions. Lifespark Hospice is here for you.
“When in doubt, just reach out!” says Jen Blazek, BSN, RN, Lifespark Hospice Administrator. “I hope you contact us or another hospice provider sooner rather than later. The longer you’re on hospice, the deeper the experience for you and the people who love you.”
Lots of people assume hospice care is only for the last few weeks of life. Actually, it’s a way to enrichen all of the time you have ahead of you. Hospice is about making life easier, fuller, and more joyful for you and your family.
Even if you don’t sign on with our services, we’re happy to help you understand the road ahead. And if you’re ready now, we’re standing by to meet with you. Contact our hospice team 24/7.