The Benefits of Hospice – Maximizing Services Through Timely Referrals


Hospice services are broad and extend to people who choose comfort care over aggressive treatments or when a curative approach is no longer an option. Hospice supports people in focusing on quality of life and in being the leaders of their own care and treatment options.

Hospice offers a wide variety of services, with no additional cost to the hospice patient. The interdisciplinary team consists of physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual care, grief support and hospice aides. Volunteers are also an important part of the hospice team. All of these services are available depending on the goals and needs of the hospice patient and their loved ones.

Because of the reluctance to face end of life issues, referrals to hospice often happen in the final hours or days, even though the hospice benefit is meant to serve the last six months of life.

Eligibility for the hospice benefit is based on disease specific criteria. hospice in los angeles   Parameters are also in place to support people who do not have a clear disease process. As long as someone meets the criteria, they are able to receive the hospice benefit with no time restrictions.

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) 33% of all people admitted to hospice die within seven days. They arrive too late to receive the full range of hospice services.

Research released by the NHPCO has also shown that patients live an average of twenty nine days longer when they receive full hospice care than other people with similar diseases. Hospice workers frequently hear from their patients and loved ones that they wish they had known about hospice sooner.

Because hospice focuses on the profound significance of the final stages of one’s life, the support that is offered contributes to feelings of safety and well-being. When physical, emotional and spiritual comfort is provided people can focus their attention on the aspects of their lives that have the most meaning. This usually involves primary relationships with loved ones, reflecting on one’s inner life and participating in the completion of unresolved issues or realizing unfulfilled dreams.

In order for people to receive the riches of hospice, it is recommended that conversations with family members and physicians begin when treatment options wane, when a higher level of comfort is desired or when a physician believes someone to be in the last 12-18 months of their life. These conversations can be triggered by a desire for less medical intervention and a return to one’s life outside of the medical system. Even though these conversations may be difficult to initiate, the payoff is great.


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