What Happens Once a Loved One Starts Hospice

What Happens Once a Loved One Starts Hospice

There is a lot of confusion around what one can expect when engaging hospice services. First, a referral is made by a physician, hospital, nursing home, patient or family member. Then a doctor must sign an order stating that the patient is hospice-appropriate. In other words, based on the doctor’s best medical judgment, the life expectancy of the patient is six months or fewer. If you want to make a referral for yourself, speak to your physician about your wishes. If your doctor denies your request, see another doctor or contact a hospice provider directly. Sometimes doctors will not sign a request for hospice because they feel the patient is giving up on them or that they have failed their patient. However, if the patient is terminal and wishes to receive hospice care, then it is his or her decision to do so—not the doctor’s.

Next, the patient is admitted to hospice by a social worker and a nurse. The two will meet with the patient and their family to explain hospice, develop a plan of care and complete paperwork.

Once a patient is admitted to hospice, he or she will be visited by several members of the hospice team. The staff members include RNs or LPNs, chaplains, social workers, home health aides and trained volunteers. The nurse will provide a weekly assessment, and will make more visits if needed. With the interdisciplinary team, a patient will see a hospice staff member roughly three times a week. Although the staff members will not stay twenty-four hours a day, they will make as many visits as necessary to ensure the proper care is given. The length of their stay will vary depending on the condition of the patient.

During the visits, a patient’s physical, spiritual, emotional, and social needs are determined and addressed. A typical visit consists of checking health status, administrating medications, changing bandages, providing equipment, and/or talking with the patient. Visits may also include engaging the patient in a favorite activity or special event. Some visits may involve assisting with funeral arrangements, power of attorney and living wills. Each visit is adjusted to satisfy the need of the patient and their family.

Spreading the Word—

April Smith


about 2 years, said...

I thot hospice / palliative care was a service provided by the county social services dept.. My sister died at home a couple years ago, a victim of cancer. Her husband arranged for the volunteers from hospice to help. I had no idea he had to pay for the services. They were very helpful, supportive, & basically handled everything (including bringing us food, literature on senior services, removing my sisters remains, etc.)

about 3 years, said...

My aunt Francis went to the one in Copley I do not want her to die I can not go and see because I do not drive

over 3 years, said...

How is one admitted to a hospice care facility?

over 3 years, said...

Very help full . Thank you

about 5 years, said...

caring???/ oh hell no, they are not. they will take meds away, just to kill the patient a little more quickly. i advise anyone considering hospice to hide your family members pills and only let them count whats in a pill box, nothing more, they told us upfront they would not take his seisure meds away and have started. most say 24 hr service, but in all actualality it is very few hours, AND you must acomidate their schedule, not the person whom is dying. doesnt make any sense to me.

over 7 years, said...

What do you do if your Mother is forced to be admitted into a hospice care that is poorly maintained and staffed? My Mother is her final stages of her life with Cancer, she is miserable with all the effects of her illness. The hospice she is in is not changing her diaper when she asks, she waits for up to an hour at times. They recently took away her cough, itching cream and medications away and told her they were discontinued? That make sense? She has little time left and it kills me to see her have to be treated this way. Also the hospice care that she is in is filthy. Is there someone I can contact about this matter?