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Hospice represents a compassionate approach to end-of-life care. Although death is a natural part of life, the thought of dying still terrifies many people. You or someone you love may imagine pain and loneliness, and be spending the final days far from family, friends and all they know and love. However, hospice care can transform the passage into a peaceful, healing transition. The hospice benefit allows a beneficiary with terminal illness to forgo curative treatment for the illness and instead receive palliative (comfort) care. Good Shepherd's hospice services offer the knowledge and skills of an inter-discipliniary team of professionals (e.g. physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, hospice aides, and volunteers).
To be eligible for hospice care, a beneficiary must be certified as having a terminal diagnosis with a life expectancy of 6 months or less. Hospice care can be provided in a skilled nusring facility, at home, an assisted living facility or an inpatient setting.
Hospice Services Include:
Pain & Sympton Management
(e.g., oxygen, antibiotics, pain management, IV fluids, etc., when appropriate.)
Medical Equiptment & Supplies
Diagnoses With Indicators:
- Decubitus ulcers, multiple, especially if infection is present.
- Recent history of frequent hospital stays and ER visits.
- A serum albumin that is less than 2.5 gm/dl.
- Unable or unwilling to take in food and fluids sufficient to sustain life.
- Weight loss that is greater than 10% over last 6 months that was not intentional.
- Over 90 years of age with multiple system co-morbidities.
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)Rapid progression significant dyspnea at rest/supplemental oxygen required at rest.
- Cancer Patient has failed other treatment and chooses not to try any further therapies or there is evidence of metastatic disease.
- Dementia Deficient in several ADLs. Inability to speak more than a few meaningful words. Fever, Aspiration pneumonia, Decubitus Ulcers – may also be seen.
- Diabetes Mellitus History of diabetes> 20 years Renal failure
- Vascular Insufficiency (cardiac, cerebral, peripheral, hypertension) Neuropathy, Retinopathy
- End Stage Neuromuscular Disease MD, MS Parkinson's Disease, Myasthenia Gravis
- End Stage Renal Disease Elective discharge of dialysis Hepatorenal syndrome Intractable fluid overload.
- HIV Disease Patient has elected to forgo antiretroviral and prophylactic medication, and is experiencing complications.
- Liver Disease Hepatorenal syndrome Stupor (late stage) Obtundation Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
- Pulmonary Disease Prior medication therapies have now failed. Cyanosis, wheezing, fatigue may also be present.
- Cardiac Disease Prior medication therapy has failed. Rales, Edema, Syncope, Tachycardia, or Tachypnea may be seen.
- COPD/Pulmonary Disease Non-response to RX therapy Rales; Gallop rhythm; S3, S4 Edema, pitting edema Syncope/near –syncope Tachypnea at rest Tachycardia at rest.
- CVA/Stoke and Coma CT or MRI findings consistent with terminal diagnosis Cannot sit up without assistance Medical complications related to debility and progressive clinical decline.
- Debility Unspecified Co-existing morbidities exist which in isolation or in combination lead to clinical determination that life expectance is less than 6 months.
These are just a few of the many diseases and indicators that may be cause for a hospice evaluation. We will be glad to evaluate your patient for you to determine whether or not they are appropriate for hospice care.