Know the Eligibility Criteria for Hospice Care
Hospice care is an important part of many people’s end-of-life plans. These services make a patient’s final months as comfortable as possible, despite a terminal illness. But before your loved one can transition into hospice care, they should meet a few specific criteria. At Agape Hospice NW, we’re committed to bringing Portland, OR residents the information they need to make educated decisions about hospice care. Find out whether hospice care is a viable option for your loved one.
Does Your Loved One Meet These Criteria?
If you’re considering hospice care for a loved one, be sure to get familiar with who qualifies for hospice services. The following circumstances combined could qualify a patient for hospice:
Diagnosis With a Life-Limiting Illness
The first qualification for hospice care is a terminal illness diagnosis. This can be any condition that cannot be cured and is expected to lead to death. Examples of terminal illnesses include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Advanced cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
- End-stage diseases of the heart, lungs, or liver
- Multiple sclerosis
Prognosis of Six Months or Less
A terminal or life-limiting illness can refer to a wide range of conditions. Patients with some types of terminal illness may survive for years, while others only have a few weeks left. In order to be eligible for hospice care, the patient must have six months or less to live, provided the disease follows its usual course.
Decision to Forego Curative Treatment
Individuals who plan to transition into hospice must make the decision to forego curative treatment for their terminal illness. They will no longer seek cures for their condition and instead focus on living the remainder of their lives comfortably with their families.
A Primary Caregiver
Hospice care is typically meant to take place in a home or nursing facility, not a designated hospice center. As such, having a primary caregiver is often a requirement for hospice care. This can be a family member, friend, or hired person responsible for the patient’s day-to-day care.
Frequent Hospitalization & Medical Concerns
Some qualifications for hospice care are more ambiguous. Specific medical concerns and frequent hospitalization may signal that it’s time to consider a reputable hospice provider. If your loved one is experiencing any of the following, talk with their physician about the role of hospice:
- Frequent infections
- Changes in skin color, especially around the lips and fingers
- Inability to perform daily activities, such as bathing, eating, and dressing
- Persistent difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Increase fatigue
- Signs of cognitive decline, such as confusion, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating
- Repeated fall accidents
- Severe pain that gets harder to manage
Account for Insurance Coverage
Eligibility for hospice care is also influenced by the specifics of the patient’s healthcare coverage. Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover hospice care as a part of their package. Many private insurance companies also include hospice in their plans. But no matter your loved one’s insurance, it’s always crucial to speak with a representative about its specifics. For uninsured patients, hospice providers may offer care for free based on their ability to pay.
Reach Out to Agape Hospice NW With Questions
As you begin to consider end-of-life options for your loved one, be aware of hospice and who qualifies for this type of care. Hospice is instrumental in helping people with terminal illnesses pass comfortably and with dignity. If you feel your loved one may be eligible for hospice care, consult with their physician and reach out to Agape Hospice NW for details.