When Is Hospice Recommended?
People seek medical specialists to guide them through treatment for illnesses because they want the best care available. This is the best way to think of hospice – a team of specialists with experience and time-tested expertise devoted to compassionate, professional end-of-life care.
Generally, people benefit most from hospice care when the services are implemented earlier rather than later. Research has shown people live an average of 29 days longer when receiving hospice services than those who do not receive services.
General Hospice Guidelines
The following are general guidelines that can assist you and your physician as you seek to determine when is it time for hospice. If 3 or more symptoms are present, it may be time to seek hospice services.
- Frequent hospitalizations
- Progressive weight loss
- Decrease in functional ability
- Significant weight loss (10% or more in the past 6 months)
- A decline in mental status
- Terminal diagnosis
- Recurrent infections
- Frequent falls
- Pain requiring frequent medication increases
- Trouble with swallowing
- Shortness of breath
- Sleeping more / fatigue
- Decline or loss of ability to walk without assistance
- Decline or loss of ability to dress without assistance
- Decline or loss of ability to feed self without assistance
- Decline or loss of ability to bath without assistance
- Loss of ability to transfer without assistance
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
- Decubitus ulcers (also known as pressure ulcers or bed sores)
- Edema (swelling)
- Loss of ability to speak or communicate effectively
- Intractable cough
- Nausea/vomiting poorly responsive to treatment
- Co-morbid conditions that contribute to a prognosis of 6 months or less (i.e.-diabetes, dementia)
- Inability to sit up without assistance
- Loss of ability to smile
- Loss of ability to hold up head independently
- Intractable diarrhea
- Changes in consciousness
What are Common Life-Limiting Illnesses?
Those who suffer from common life-limiting illnesses including but not limited to the ones in the following list also benefit from hospice care:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Neurological disease
- Pulmonary disease
- Renal disease
- Respiratory disease
- Stroke or coma
We understand each person’s situation is unique and many factors can contribute to a life-limiting prognosis. Please contact Minnesota Hospice to discuss your specific needs and how we can help.
All people deserve love, compassion, and dignity at end-of-life. At Minnesota Hospice, we strive to empower people to live life as fully as possible on their terms. Our team is filled with experienced professionals dedicated to walking with you during this part of life’s sacred journey. We provide the highest level of hospice care possible to help people find meaning, purpose, love, and beauty in living before departing life peacefully.