Hospice Guide for Healthcare Professionals

When to refer a patient to Hospice.

Signs and symptoms include a patient that is:

  1. Refusing Therapy
  2. Refusing Medications and Treatments
  3. Losing Weight
  4. Refusing Meals
  5. Falling more frequently
  6. Having difficulty swallowing
  7. Becoming more forgetful
  8. Dependent with ADLs and Mobility

Often as healthcare providers we want to believe we can cure all individuals. However, for those patients who have the above signs and symptoms we need to ensure we also help our patients manage their disease and relieve pain. Time is of the essence when referring patients to hospice care.

Sojourn Hospice and Palliative Care can make the necessary contacts to ensure family and patient are educated to what hospice care includes and determine if they are ready for hospice. Once they begin hospice care Sojourn will have all the hospice medications, medical supplies and equipment delivered at no cost to the patient or family. We will immediately start regular visits from nurses, social workers,
chaplains, volunteers, aides, and bereavement specialists. If you think it is time for hospice care for your patient, it probably is.

How does a Patient Qualify for Hospice

  • Patient has an end-stage chronic or life-limiting illness including:
    • Cancer
    • Advanced Cardiac Disease (ACD)
    • Chronic Heart Failure (CHF)
    • Progressive Neuromuscular Disease like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Muscular Dystrophy (MD)
    • Liver Disease
    • Advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA)
    • End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
    • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
    • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Two to three Hospitalizations within 3 months
  • The decline in ADL’s (eating, toileting, walking, and transfers) in the last 2-3 months.
  • Severely restricted activity due to shortness of breath and/or pain
  • Significant weight loss of 10% or more within the last 6-12 months with declining nutritional status.
  • Physician Certification for Hospice.

Admission Criteria

State and Federal regulations require that the following two criteria be met for a patient to be eligible for hospice care:

A physician must certify the patient’s life expectancy is 6 months or less, if the illness runs its normal course.

1. Patient has chosen care that focuses on symptom management rather than curative treatment.

2. Individuals eligible for Sojourn’s services may experience some or all of the following:

  • Frequent hospitalizations
  • Progressive weight loss
  • Deteriorating mental abilities
  • Recurrent infections
  • Decreased ability to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
  • Legacy patients do not have to be homebound

Please contact us today for more specific admission criteria.