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Hospice Care: Is It Time To Call? What Should You Do?

One of the most difficult decisions you will have to make is when to contact hospice care for services for your parent. Hospice has many advantages that are important to you and your family and choosing the right time to call for help could impact which services are available to you. Here are some guidelines on determining when is the appropriate time to seek help and what to do when it is time.

Terminal Illness

Most insurance companies and Medicare will advise you to contact hospice care when your parent is in the final stages of life. Typically, this is considered the last six months. Since there is no definitive way to determine exactly how much time your parent has, his or her doctor will perform an assessment.

The doctor will assess the progression of your parent's illness and make an educated assessment of how long your parent has. If the doctor feels that your parent has six months or less to live, it is time to contact hospice. 

Hospice Care

Once you receive certification from the doctor that your parent is within the final stages of his or her life, contact the hospice care provide you want to use. If you have not chosen a provider yet, your parent's insurance provider or Medicare can provide you with a list of providers to research. 

There are several key factors you should keep in mind when reviewing hospice providers. Ensure that the provider is licensed by the state or federal government. Licensing helps to reassure you that the provider is regularly monitored by the government. You also need to determine if you want to place your parent in a hospice facility or have hospice care in the home. 

Hospice services are not just for your parent. You and your family also receive assistance with dealing with the impending loss of a parent. Pay close attention to the services that are offered to the family, such as grief counseling.

Beyond Six Months

There are different factors that can impact hospice care. One of those is your parent living beyond the six-month period estimated by the doctor. If your parent does live beyond that, the doctor can re-assess your parent. Depending on the doctor's assessment, your parent might still qualify for hospice care. 

If your parent's condition has improved at any point, you can terminate hospice care. You can re-certify at a later time if the services become necessary again.

The decision to call for hospice care is never an easy one, but it is unavoidable. Contact a hospice care provider (such as Orchard Hill at Sudbury Assisted Living Community) for help with understanding other aspects of the program.