Nearly all patients are able to receive hospice care as soon as their physician assesses that the patient has a terminal illness and that they most likely have six months or less to live. Hospice is not a crisis service for just the last few days of life. It is a program designed to care for the patient and family during the last months of life. An early hospice admission allows both patient and family to receive the full benefit of hospice services. Additionally, when pain and other symptoms are effectively controlled, people not only feel better, they have a potential to live longer.
For the Patient
- Effective medication, pain and symptom management resulting in less discomfort and fewer emergency hospitalizations;
- Earlier intervention may decrease stress levels, and have a positive impact on the quality of life;
- A reduction in unnecessary and frequent re-admission to the hospital/ER visits;
- A reduction in stress of traveling back and forth to the hospital or physician offices;
- Help with focusing on developing personal goals before the end of life;
- Preparation and coordination of advanced directives;
- Emotional, psychological and spiritual support;
For the Patient and Family
- Control of an overwhelming situation;
- Ability to observe the loved one in a more comfortable state during a difficult time allowing each person to achieve peace with the pending death;
- Provide an opportunity for closure and saying good-bye with everyone together;
- Receive expert assistance and time to prepare for funeral and financial matters;
- Save on expenses of medication, equipment and supplies related to the terminal prognosis.
Early Admission to hospice allows patients and families to build longer relationships and improve overall care for the body, mind and spirit. Many patients and caregivers said they would have liked to have been referred to hospice earlier.