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How Do You Know When It's Time For Hospice Care?

Getting older and aging can be a difficult process to accept. Loss of independence associated with age, declining health, chronic or serious illness may be a reason loved ones don't always tell you how they are really feeling. Often, they do not want to become a burden to loved ones who are caregivers.

Hospice is "comfort oriented" care during a stressful time when loved ones are living with terminal illness. Hospice care focuses on quality of life, pain relief and symptom management rather than curing the illness. Hospice uses an interdisciplinary team consisting of a medical director, nurse, social worker, home health aide, spiritual care and volunteers. Hospice offers a full benefit of care and helps with end-of-life care.

How do you know when it's time for hospice? Here are a few signs to consider using hospice:

  1. Treatment is no longer working and/or no desire to continue aggressive care.

  2. Disease symptoms are getting harder to manage.

  3. More doctor visits and/or frequent hospital admissions.

  4. Increased confusion.

  5. Increased agitation.

  6. Increased or recurrent infections and symptoms.

  7. Sleeping most of the time.

  8. Poor to no appetite or unexplained weight loss.

  9. Increase in pain.

  10. Less able to communicate.

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