A hospice challenge is getting patients onto a hospice service soon enough to be fully beneficial for both the patient and the family. Hospice is available to patients that have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less and we work to get our patients onto service as soon as possible. We want to help our patients and families live their best lives and help them prepare for the future—physically, emotionally and spiritually. When we get a patient on hospice with just a few hours or days before death, we find that the patient doesn’t get the opportunity to benefit from all we might offer—and they may find themselves less prepared than they would like to be.
This entry is the second part of a three-part series on some of the basics of hospice.
What is hospice?
Hospice is a program of care and support for patients and families who are faced with a terminal illness. Hospice helps terminally ill people live their best lives, as comfortably as possible. The focus is on comfort, not on curing an illness.
How do I know when hospice is an appropriate choice?
Patients are eligible for hospice care when they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a typical prognosis of 6 months or less. That is a time for patients and family members to consider transitioning the primary focus from curative measures to comfort care and symptom management.
When should hospice be called?
Hospice should be called any time the patient has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. It is appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s current and future care options, including hospice.
Are all hospices the same?No. “Hospice” is a medical specialty like pediatrics, geriatrics and oncology. Each hospice is a different organization. All hospices have the same general philosophy but their services may differ. Some hospices are for-profit corporations, while others (like Memorial Hospice) are not-for-profit organizations. Yakima County is home to three hospices: Memorial Hospice, Yakima Regional Hospice and Lower Valley Hospice. It is your right to request the hospice of your choice.