Can Hospice Administer IV Treatment for Sodium and Potassium for Terminal Cancer?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 12, 2016
Marie12345 asked...

My mother in law has ovarian cancer, ilisotomy bag, and assorted other illnesses - she is in and out of the hospital and appears to do much better when she has iv that regulate her sodium and potassium levels. She is not in any pain - other than the hospital administering the iv can hospice do this at her home?


Expert Answers

Andrew Putnam, M.D. is a Palliative Care physician at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

This question does not have a single answer as it depends on the hospice. The easy answer is that hospice is not prohibited BY LAW from providing any treatment. The problem is that hospice only gets paid a small amount for each day a patient is on hospice. Most hospices barely break even and so they can not afford many of the treatments that patients would like. They should provide medicines for the patients' comfort. Some large hospices are able to provide drugs that smaller hospices can not afford because they have more money behind them. But it is a financial issue because if hospice provided all the drugs that they would like to provide, hospices would go bankrupt. It is best to ask whatever hospice you are thinking about as sometimes on a case by case basis the answer might be OK.