Let us clear things up, so you can enhance patient care.
A person can opt out of a hospice program at any time. If your patient decides to resume curative treatment or pursue experimental measures, they can. In fact, approximately 18% of patients1, each year, on hospice, leave the program for one reason or another. Some because they have exceeded their doctors' predictions that they were likely to live less than six months (a requirement for Medicare eligibility). Whatever the case, your patients have complete control over their decisions, and care.
Which brings us to another point. Many patients believe they have to give up their doctor if they go on hospice. Similarly, some doctors believe they are going to lose control over their patients' care. Optimally speaking, it is best for the physician to remain engaged in patient care while “co-consulting” with the hospice medical director. And, the Medicare benefit encourages doctors to so.
The benefits of hospice are far-reaching.
But for those who do stay on hospice, the benefits are far-reaching. It can transform passage into a peaceful, healing transition. It enables patients to live to the fullest with purpose, dignity and support. And, the benefits not only apply to the patient, but the family or caregiver as well.Home health aides can provide assistance with personal care such as bathing or shaving. Volunteers may be available for light housekeeping and meal preparation. Social workers can help family members access resources. Spiritual counselors can provide support to help resolve "unfinished business" or saying goodbye. And respite care can provide families a break from the intensity of caregiving.Sadly though, only half of hospice patients receive care for more than three weeks. At Crossroads, we encourage physicians to refer patients to hospice sooner rather than later. It will improve their quality of life, potentially prolong life1, provide a chance for them to put their affairs in order, say goodbye to loved ones, or live their final days as they wish. This is something we have put a lot of thought into and as a result developed a program called the Gift of a Day. The idea came to us in 2000, and since that time we have helped hundreds of patients and families experience “the perfect day”. See for yourself, read more about it.
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Initiating a Hospice Talk.
1 National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Facts & Figures: Hospice in America study.