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When to Call Hospice

When is the right moment?

If you are not sure when is the time to call the hospice we can help you determine what is the right choice for you, depending on your overall state and diagnosis. We would provide the right medical care combined with an understanding of your spiritual needs and much needed emotional support.

Hospice Eligibility Criteria

A person of any age is eligible for hospice care after being certified by a physician as having a life expectancy that may be six months or less, depending on the course of their disease. Another requirement is that patients who elect hospice must forgo curative treatment, either because they no longer wish to receive it or because it is no longer effective.

Should I call Hospice?

Many families wait to call hospice until the final days and weeks of their loved one’s life, not knowing they could have started receiving additional specialized nursing care and medications, medical equipment and supplies related to their loved one’s terminal illness at no cost much earlier. Hospice care improves the patient’s quality of life by managing pain and other symptoms of their illness and improves the family/caregiver’s lives by having someone that they can lean on, seek guidance from and receive much needed support during this difficult time.

How to Begin Hospice Care

Anyone, whether it is a family member, a friend, a member of the clergy, or a physician, can refer someone to hospice. Most patients are referred by a health care professional, but a call to your local hospice provider can begin the referral process as well. Once this formal request is made, most Hospice organizations begin providing care within a day or two.

Management of Pain and Other Symptoms

Addressing pain and other symptoms in the early stages, rather than waiting until they become severe, is a priority. Therefore, it is crucial to begin hospice care as soon as one is ready and meets the eligibility requirements. Hospice care teams always work to manage the patient’s pain as expediently and efficiently as possible.

In addition to determining the appropriate medications for pain and other symptoms, members of the care team also get creative when identifying the best ways to administer the treatments. Finding new therapies, new uses for conventional medications and new techniques for improving comfort care is an ongoing goal for these medical professionals, therapists and volunteers. Here at Moments Hospice we have a wide variety of extra therapies we cover at no additional cost.

Special needs are best handled by specialists. Hospice professionals specialize in end of life care and should be called upon during the first stages of a terminal illness to ensure the patient and their family members can benefit from all the services hospice has to offer.

GENERAL – NON SPECIFIC TERMINAL ILLNESS

Call hospice in the case of a terminal but non-specific condition that couldn’t be attributed to one specific illness. Some of the symptoms include rapid declining of health in 3- 6 month period, significant involuntary weight loss (about  10%) or less than 2.5 albumin levels. Test results are declining in Palliative Performance Scale up to 50%.

OTHER END STAGE TERMINAL DISEASE

Some of the conditions where you have to consider calling the  hospice care include: end-stage Heart Disease, Pulmonary Diseases, Renal Disease, HIV , ALS , Liver Disease, New York  Heart Association Class IV Symptoms , Shortness of Breath & dyspnea at rest, Increased Lower Extremity Edema, Changing levels on Consciousness ( Sleeping more hours in 24 period of time and weakness in general)  and also documented history of more frequent ER visits.

CANCER PATIENTS

When patients meet all following symptoms of the malignant disease:

Clinical findings of malignancy with widespread progressive and aggressive, evidenced by rapid lab results declining and proven metastatic disease. Palliative Performance Care is declining up to 70 %. Also one of the major reasons for calling hospice is refusing further medical help and life-prolonging therapy or overall state keeps worsening despite using the prescribed therapy.

Supporting documentation of the overall condition includes: Hypercalcemia level over 12, cachexia or 5% weight loss in past 3 months, recurring disease despite surgery/chemotherapy/radiation. Common symptoms of the advanced stage of cancer include frequent blood transfusions, nausea, malignant ascites or pleural effusion.

ALZHEIMER’S DEMENTIA

In case of Alzheimer Dementia, the patient is showing following symptoms: losing the ability to speak, losing the ability to smile or hold up head independently, cannot walk or sit without other person’s assistance. Also, the patient experienced some of the following conditions in last 12 months – aspiration pneumonia, pyelonephritis, septicemia, multiple pressure ulcers, recurrent fevers and other symptoms that suggest a limited prognosis. Inability to maintain sufficient calorie and fluid intake and rapid weight loss and declining albumin levels.

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