How do I enroll a terminal cancer patient in hospice?

2 answers | Last updated: Nov 28, 2016
Vig asked...

How do I enroll someone who is a terminal cancer patient in hospice?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Most hospice services require a doctor's certification that death is likely to occur within six months before they will make their services available. To find the specific requirements of the nearest hospice providers, check out the "Hospice Search" function at the American Hospice Foundation website.

But checking the hospice care requirements is just the first step. You will also want to carefully screen the agency to be sure that the organization can provide the best fit in care and philosophy. This is important with all types of care, but especially important for hospice, which generally requires the hospice workers to mesh with family members and the patient during an intense and unnerving time.

When comparison shopping among several hospice providers, you might be attuned to the answers to the following questions:

  • Is it available for the time and geographic area needed?
  • Is it certified by Medicare or Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal in California, if the patient is eligible under these programs?
  • Do workers there communicate clearly and respectfully?
  • Does it have staff members to provide emotional and spiritual support for the patient and family members if needed?
  • Can it train friends and family members to provide the care they will need to give?
  • What kind of personal care services -- such as help with bathing, dressing, or eating -- can it provide?
  • Is it affiliated with a hospital or other facility that provides inpatient care if that becomes necessary?
  • What kinds of bereavement services are provided?

Community Answers

Lookin4whoo answered...

When my Grandmother & Grandfather both came to need Hospice in 1999 and again in 2006 the Dr's Office Staff set everything up for our family we didn't do anything. I would think a personal discussion with the Family physician would be enough to get the ball rolling so that you are not having to make alot of calls yourself as I know things are probley choas for you now already. Hospice is a wondeful thing for any family experiancing end of life they are there for the Patient and the Family and will be the lean to you need at just the right time. Good Luck God Bless