When is it Time for Hospice Care?

Nobody wants to think about their own death or losing someone they love. Due to this, it is easy to put off discussions about end-of-life care. For some, the question has come up about When is it Time for Hospice Care? Those in that situation may already be eligible to receive specialized hospice and palliative care.

When to Consider Hospice Care

A lot of families wait until the final weeks or days of a person’s life to make the call. However, there are situations where a patient can start receiving additional nursing care, medications, equipment, and supplies earlier. The use of hospice care can improve the quality of life of a person due to pain management. This also gives caregivers and family members someone to depend on for help and guidance. The hospice staff can offer support during this tough time.

Those that are noticing signs like frequent hospital admissions, increase in falls, changes in mental abilities, weight loss that is progressive, infections and an overall decline in the ability to do daily tasks could be at the point of having the discussion with their physician.


If a physician has diagnosed a person with a terminal illness and indicates that there are less than six months to live if the illness runs the normal course, hospice care is an option. In the event that the person pushes through and lives past the six-month period, they can continue on the plan as long as the physician re-certifies their eligibility.

There are times when a patient’s condition will improve over time or they decide to try other treatments over hospice or comfort care. If they decide to take that route, they can always resume hospice care later if the condition were to decline.

What Does Hospice Care Involve?

In most cases, home hospice is provided when possible. The providers are focused on taking care of loved ones, rather than on curing. Sometimes hospice care takes place in actual hospice centers, hospitals, nursing homes or long-term care facilities. This type of care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and just about all insurance plans, etc.

The family is still involved in the day to day caregiving. They also help make decisions for the family member that is ill. The hospice staff comes on a regular basis to visit and do assessments. They are on call all of the time, 24/7. They come up with a specific plan for each patient since no two people have the same situation.

Those who are at the point of needing hospice care or need additional direction on understanding when it’s time, visit https://www.nhpco.org/about/hospice-care for additional information. There are various resources to help in the time of need. Understanding the options and how things work will give a certain sense of peace to all involved.


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