When a primary care physician recommends hospice for you or your family, you may wonder how long the services will last. The answer to that question is that there is no concrete answer. Every patient who qualifies for hospice comes in with different medical conditions and thus experiences hospice for different amounts of time. However, certain timeline aspects of hospice are the same across the board.
To be eligible for hospice, a patient must have a medical prognosis of less than 6 months left to live. For this reason, hospice is designed to be provided to a patient for 6 months. However, if a patient lives longer than 6 months, they can continue to receive services for as long as their physician certifies that they qualify for hospice. So, while I would love to give you a firm answer for this question, there are too many unknowns factors to predict length of stay. However, there is an aspect of hospice you do have more control over—when you start receiving hospice.
Hospice is intended to provide an increased quality of life for individuals who have already been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It is there to provide the patient and family with the support they need—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. These needs are best met earlier rather than later. Unfortunately, services frequently are provided too late. Jon Radulovic (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization) shared that, “About 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries receive hospice for seven days or less—and we think that’s far too short a time. Hospice is well-suited for months of life, not days.” Remember, hospice does not hasten death.
It can be difficult trying to plan for terminal illnesses as too much is wide open. However, choosing hospice earlier can make a tremendous difference for patients facing these troubles. So, if you are trying to plan ahead for your own end-of-life care, make sure seek hospice care sooner as it may make all the difference for you.
Aspire Hospice’s representatives are standing by 24/7 ready to answer your questions and help you plan for your future. Contact us today to speak to our senior care advocates.