Hospice provides a plethora of comfort services that can greatly benefit patients suffering from a life-limiting illness. The sooner one can receive these services, the better. The difficulty with hospice is understanding when one can qualify. By becoming familiar with the qualifying signs for hospice, services can be provided earlier into the prognoses which allows the patient to experience the benefits of hospice for a longer period of time.
Hospice care is a form of palliative care that focuses on the terminally ill. However, most people who care for seriously ill individuals on a daily basis are not doctors and struggle to know if the patient qualifies for more care like hospice. In this blog we want to help those caregivers learn what signs to watch for which may indicate if a patient could qualify for hospice.
The following is a list of some of the more major qualifying symptoms for hospice care. Though there are many more specific symptoms that could qualify a person for hospice, the below general ones are symptoms that primary care physicians and hospice providers usually initially look for:
- Increased weakness and fatigue
- Unintentional weight loss (10% weight loss over the previous 6 months)
- Increased hospital visits
- Recurrent infections
- Multiple pressure ulcers
- Frequent falls
- Decreased ability to move and perform daily functions without assistance
- Deteriorating mental status (can be observed through decreasing vocabulary)
- Decreased skin integrity (ex: skin tears)
- Increasing uncontrolled pain.
The above list is by no means comprehensive and should not serve as a method for determining hospice eligibility. Our goal for sharing this list is to give people greater understanding as to whether they should contact their locale hospice provider to see if the patient does in fact qualify.
If you or a loved one experiences one or several of these symptoms, we encourage you to contact your preferred hospice provider immediately so that they can meet with you and further determine whether or not to recommend hospice. Here at Aspire Home Health and Hospice, we have a team of qualified individuals standing by to answer hospice-related questions. If you have questions about the hospice timeline or if you are in need of a physician to come visit you, reach out to us at 801-292-0296.