Deciding on Hospice Care: Knowing When It's Time

|

Feb 28, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

deciding on hospice care

Deciding on Hospice Care: Knowing When It's Time

|

Feb 28, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

Deciding on Hospice Care: Knowing When It's Time

|

Feb 28, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

deciding on hospice care

Deciding on Hospice Care: Knowing When It's Time

|

Feb 28, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

deciding on hospice care

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

Choosing end-of-life care for your loved one is one of the most challenging decisions you will ever have to make. Though it comes with great pain, there are several signs to look out for indicating the time is right.

Depending on your loved one’s condition and treatment, it’s possible to prioritize their comfort and quality of life during their remaining time. To help you understand this decision and when to make it, we’ll explain the signs to look for, what to consider beforehand, and steps you can take ahead of time to prepare. 


Key Takeaways

  • Some signs indicating it's time for hospice care include ineffective treatment, unmanageable symptoms, frequent hospital visits, sudden weight loss, trouble with daily tasks, and overall mental decline.

  • When deciding whether hospice care is right for you, consider getting multiple doctor opinions and discussing your options with your family.

  • If you decide hospice care is the best option, start the preparation for conversion as early as possible and gather any necessary documents. Do plenty of research on hospice care providers to ensure you find the right one.


When is it Time for Hospice Care?

when is it time for hospice care

When you contemplate whether to move your loved one to hospice care, there are some signs you can look out for. 

Dr. Liz Geriatrics, a Medical Consultant for elderly people, advises:

“If someone is up walking, engaging, and they’re doing well, well, we don’t think about hospice at all. If they have cancer, and the tumor is a certain size, and that people with that size tumor often only live 6 months or so, that’s when you start enrolling in hospice.”

Additionally, she adds:

“For a lot of elders who have heart disease, and they’ve got more short of breath, their function is declining, they are in and out of the emergency room more often, they can’t do as much at home, they need to have oxygen, that’s when you want to think about hospice.”

With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the factors to consider to decide if it’s time for hospice care:

Treatment Is Ineffective

One of the most prominent signs that hospice care is worth considering is when a family member’s treatment is no longer effective. The goal of many treatments is to cure an illness or condition, but it might place a heavy burden on the recipient.

They might experience adverse side effects causing discomfort or pain. In addition, if the treatment itself is no longer effective in treating their condition, it usually indicates the potential benefits of the treatment no longer outweigh the burden.

Symptoms are Becoming Unmanageable

Another sign to look out for is if their symptoms become unmanageable through their usual treatment or medicine. When pain, nausea, trouble using the bathroom, etc., become too extreme, it may be time to consider hospice.

Hospice care prioritizes relieving these symptoms rather than trying to cure a condition. Your loved one can enjoy a better quality of life without discomfort.

Frequent Hospital & ER Visits

If you and your loved one are required to make overly frequent visits to the hospital to continue their treatment or a substantial amount of ER visits (i.e., three or more times in the last six months), it’s a sign to consider hospice care. 

A sign like this can indicate declining health, and it may be worth considering hospice care to ease your loved one’s condition.

Sudden Weight Loss

Weight loss, loss of appetite, or inability to eat/consume food can all indicate a decline in health. This sudden change is a typical occurrence with many terminal illnesses and is a reason to consider switching to hospice care.

Cannot Perform Daily Living Tasks

If your loved one is having trouble performing more simple tasks associated with daily living, hospice care may be the best decision. When a loved one can no longer go to the bathroom, bathe themselves, or feed themselves, the support and attention in hospice care can go a long way. 

Mental Decline

The final sign to look out for is a decline in mental function. Your loved one may have trouble remembering, communicating or thinking clearly. In turn, they could pull away from family or become irritable and cranky more frequently.

A decline in mental function is a sign that you may want to consider switching your loved one to hospice care. Hospice care can relieve certain irritations and save you and your loved one from unnecessary anguish. 


Is Hospice Care Right for You?

is hospice care right for you

If you witness some of these signs and think it might be time for hospice, we have some recommendations for steps to take. These actions can increase confidence in your decision and help you feel at peace with it.

Get Multiple Doctor Opinions

If only one doctor has recommended hospice care, it’s wise to get a second or third opinion. Deciding to move to hospice care is a big decision, and multiple opinions can reassure you it’s right.

While one doctor may recommend hospice, some may believe that continuing curative treatment is still an option. A second doctor may recommend palliative care, which still emphasizes relieving unpleasant symptoms from treatment or illness but continues to work on ultimately curing the condition.

At Trustworthy, we offer easy information sharing between all family members and trusted professionals. You can securely add all family doctors to access the documents they need to see regarding your family’s healthcare information.

When considering hospice care, you can share your loved one’s medical and treatment records with multiple doctors quickly with Trustworthy. 

Consider Personal Preferences

In addition to what a doctor or close family says, also consider your personal preferences. If you hold the power to decide on the course of your loved one’s care, your opinion matters.

Consider how you would like to see your loved one treated and what kind of facility, care, and attention they receive. 

Gather Information About Hospice Facilities

After deciding on hospice care, the next step is gathering as much information as possible about the different available hospice facilities.

You want to be familiar with a facility’s credentials, available programs/treatments, reputation/history, and additional services they provide for your loved one. The more information you can gather, the better it will allow you to make the most informed decision.

Discuss Options With Family and Loved Ones

Another helpful step is to ask for help from family and loved ones in making the choice. Others who are close to your loved one will be able to help you decide what is best for them and can assist in gathering information from doctors and potential hospice facilities. 

You can use our helpful guide detailing how to discuss end-of-life care with the patient. We know it is a difficult conversation for anybody, so some tips and preliminary ideas can be beneficial.


Preparing for Hospice Care

preparing for hospice care

Ultimately, deciding to transfer your loved one to hospice care is the most challenging part of the equation. However, the process doesn’t end there. You should be aware of several aspects of preparing for hospice care.

Start the Conversion Early

Ideally, it’s best to start the conversion process as soon as possible after deciding to opt for hospice care. You will have as much time as possible to prepare, gathering all the necessary information for the next steps.

By starting early, you ensure your loved one can enjoy the relief offered by hospice care as soon as possible.

Prepare Medical & Legal Documents

During the conversion, you must produce many medical and legal documents pertaining to you and your loved one. Typically, you will need a medical form for Life-Sustaining Treatment, medical documentation noting the prognosis of 6 months or under, and certain legal forms like Power of Attorney.

At Trustworthy, we offer a safe storage option for your and your family’s necessary medical and legal documents. We can help you tremendously simplify the document preparation process by giving you effortless access and sharing of your documents between family and trusted professionals.

For Home-Based Hospice Care, Begin Making Arrangements 

If you opt for home-based hospice care for your loved one, there are several arrangements to make before moving them home. Preparations can include special equipment, living spaces, and any renovations required.

Depending on the scale of the arrangements, they can take some time, so start as soon as possible.

Notify Family Members

At some point during or after the decision, you must notify your other family members of the conversion of your loved one’s care to hospice. They may want to know the current status of their treatment, but once you notify them, they can help you with certain steps in the conversion process.

You can use Trustworthy for easy sharing of information with family on significant matters like this one. We offer easy-to-use collaboration and tools where you can work seamlessly to share important documents 100% online.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do hospices decrease life expectancy?

While hospice care involves stopping curative treatment, no evidence indicates hospices directly decrease life expectancy. On the contrary, a study done in 2006 found hospice patients survived longer than non-hospice patients on average.

What questions should I ask myself to determine if I need a hospice?

Ask yourself if the treatment you are receiving is effective, if your symptoms or side effects are still tolerable, if you have sudden weight loss or trouble with daily tasks, and if the number of hospital visits you make is manageable.

How do doctors know when it's time for hospice?

Doctors determine that it's time for hospice if any possible benefits of your current treatment no longer outweigh the burden of adverse side effects of the treatment you receive or symptoms of your condition.

What is the difference between palliative care and hospice?

Palliative and hospice care both emphasize relieving unpleasant symptoms brought about by a patient’s illness or treatment. However, hospice care no longer attempts to treat or cure the patient’s illness, while palliative care still contains curative treatments.

Choosing end-of-life care for your loved one is one of the most challenging decisions you will ever have to make. Though it comes with great pain, there are several signs to look out for indicating the time is right.

Depending on your loved one’s condition and treatment, it’s possible to prioritize their comfort and quality of life during their remaining time. To help you understand this decision and when to make it, we’ll explain the signs to look for, what to consider beforehand, and steps you can take ahead of time to prepare. 


Key Takeaways

  • Some signs indicating it's time for hospice care include ineffective treatment, unmanageable symptoms, frequent hospital visits, sudden weight loss, trouble with daily tasks, and overall mental decline.

  • When deciding whether hospice care is right for you, consider getting multiple doctor opinions and discussing your options with your family.

  • If you decide hospice care is the best option, start the preparation for conversion as early as possible and gather any necessary documents. Do plenty of research on hospice care providers to ensure you find the right one.


When is it Time for Hospice Care?

when is it time for hospice care

When you contemplate whether to move your loved one to hospice care, there are some signs you can look out for. 

Dr. Liz Geriatrics, a Medical Consultant for elderly people, advises:

“If someone is up walking, engaging, and they’re doing well, well, we don’t think about hospice at all. If they have cancer, and the tumor is a certain size, and that people with that size tumor often only live 6 months or so, that’s when you start enrolling in hospice.”

Additionally, she adds:

“For a lot of elders who have heart disease, and they’ve got more short of breath, their function is declining, they are in and out of the emergency room more often, they can’t do as much at home, they need to have oxygen, that’s when you want to think about hospice.”

With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the factors to consider to decide if it’s time for hospice care:

Treatment Is Ineffective

One of the most prominent signs that hospice care is worth considering is when a family member’s treatment is no longer effective. The goal of many treatments is to cure an illness or condition, but it might place a heavy burden on the recipient.

They might experience adverse side effects causing discomfort or pain. In addition, if the treatment itself is no longer effective in treating their condition, it usually indicates the potential benefits of the treatment no longer outweigh the burden.

Symptoms are Becoming Unmanageable

Another sign to look out for is if their symptoms become unmanageable through their usual treatment or medicine. When pain, nausea, trouble using the bathroom, etc., become too extreme, it may be time to consider hospice.

Hospice care prioritizes relieving these symptoms rather than trying to cure a condition. Your loved one can enjoy a better quality of life without discomfort.

Frequent Hospital & ER Visits

If you and your loved one are required to make overly frequent visits to the hospital to continue their treatment or a substantial amount of ER visits (i.e., three or more times in the last six months), it’s a sign to consider hospice care. 

A sign like this can indicate declining health, and it may be worth considering hospice care to ease your loved one’s condition.

Sudden Weight Loss

Weight loss, loss of appetite, or inability to eat/consume food can all indicate a decline in health. This sudden change is a typical occurrence with many terminal illnesses and is a reason to consider switching to hospice care.

Cannot Perform Daily Living Tasks

If your loved one is having trouble performing more simple tasks associated with daily living, hospice care may be the best decision. When a loved one can no longer go to the bathroom, bathe themselves, or feed themselves, the support and attention in hospice care can go a long way. 

Mental Decline

The final sign to look out for is a decline in mental function. Your loved one may have trouble remembering, communicating or thinking clearly. In turn, they could pull away from family or become irritable and cranky more frequently.

A decline in mental function is a sign that you may want to consider switching your loved one to hospice care. Hospice care can relieve certain irritations and save you and your loved one from unnecessary anguish. 


Is Hospice Care Right for You?

is hospice care right for you

If you witness some of these signs and think it might be time for hospice, we have some recommendations for steps to take. These actions can increase confidence in your decision and help you feel at peace with it.

Get Multiple Doctor Opinions

If only one doctor has recommended hospice care, it’s wise to get a second or third opinion. Deciding to move to hospice care is a big decision, and multiple opinions can reassure you it’s right.

While one doctor may recommend hospice, some may believe that continuing curative treatment is still an option. A second doctor may recommend palliative care, which still emphasizes relieving unpleasant symptoms from treatment or illness but continues to work on ultimately curing the condition.

At Trustworthy, we offer easy information sharing between all family members and trusted professionals. You can securely add all family doctors to access the documents they need to see regarding your family’s healthcare information.

When considering hospice care, you can share your loved one’s medical and treatment records with multiple doctors quickly with Trustworthy. 

Consider Personal Preferences

In addition to what a doctor or close family says, also consider your personal preferences. If you hold the power to decide on the course of your loved one’s care, your opinion matters.

Consider how you would like to see your loved one treated and what kind of facility, care, and attention they receive. 

Gather Information About Hospice Facilities

After deciding on hospice care, the next step is gathering as much information as possible about the different available hospice facilities.

You want to be familiar with a facility’s credentials, available programs/treatments, reputation/history, and additional services they provide for your loved one. The more information you can gather, the better it will allow you to make the most informed decision.

Discuss Options With Family and Loved Ones

Another helpful step is to ask for help from family and loved ones in making the choice. Others who are close to your loved one will be able to help you decide what is best for them and can assist in gathering information from doctors and potential hospice facilities. 

You can use our helpful guide detailing how to discuss end-of-life care with the patient. We know it is a difficult conversation for anybody, so some tips and preliminary ideas can be beneficial.


Preparing for Hospice Care

preparing for hospice care

Ultimately, deciding to transfer your loved one to hospice care is the most challenging part of the equation. However, the process doesn’t end there. You should be aware of several aspects of preparing for hospice care.

Start the Conversion Early

Ideally, it’s best to start the conversion process as soon as possible after deciding to opt for hospice care. You will have as much time as possible to prepare, gathering all the necessary information for the next steps.

By starting early, you ensure your loved one can enjoy the relief offered by hospice care as soon as possible.

Prepare Medical & Legal Documents

During the conversion, you must produce many medical and legal documents pertaining to you and your loved one. Typically, you will need a medical form for Life-Sustaining Treatment, medical documentation noting the prognosis of 6 months or under, and certain legal forms like Power of Attorney.

At Trustworthy, we offer a safe storage option for your and your family’s necessary medical and legal documents. We can help you tremendously simplify the document preparation process by giving you effortless access and sharing of your documents between family and trusted professionals.

For Home-Based Hospice Care, Begin Making Arrangements 

If you opt for home-based hospice care for your loved one, there are several arrangements to make before moving them home. Preparations can include special equipment, living spaces, and any renovations required.

Depending on the scale of the arrangements, they can take some time, so start as soon as possible.

Notify Family Members

At some point during or after the decision, you must notify your other family members of the conversion of your loved one’s care to hospice. They may want to know the current status of their treatment, but once you notify them, they can help you with certain steps in the conversion process.

You can use Trustworthy for easy sharing of information with family on significant matters like this one. We offer easy-to-use collaboration and tools where you can work seamlessly to share important documents 100% online.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do hospices decrease life expectancy?

While hospice care involves stopping curative treatment, no evidence indicates hospices directly decrease life expectancy. On the contrary, a study done in 2006 found hospice patients survived longer than non-hospice patients on average.

What questions should I ask myself to determine if I need a hospice?

Ask yourself if the treatment you are receiving is effective, if your symptoms or side effects are still tolerable, if you have sudden weight loss or trouble with daily tasks, and if the number of hospital visits you make is manageable.

How do doctors know when it's time for hospice?

Doctors determine that it's time for hospice if any possible benefits of your current treatment no longer outweigh the burden of adverse side effects of the treatment you receive or symptoms of your condition.

What is the difference between palliative care and hospice?

Palliative and hospice care both emphasize relieving unpleasant symptoms brought about by a patient’s illness or treatment. However, hospice care no longer attempts to treat or cure the patient’s illness, while palliative care still contains curative treatments.

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

Choosing end-of-life care for your loved one is one of the most challenging decisions you will ever have to make. Though it comes with great pain, there are several signs to look out for indicating the time is right.

Depending on your loved one’s condition and treatment, it’s possible to prioritize their comfort and quality of life during their remaining time. To help you understand this decision and when to make it, we’ll explain the signs to look for, what to consider beforehand, and steps you can take ahead of time to prepare. 


Key Takeaways

  • Some signs indicating it's time for hospice care include ineffective treatment, unmanageable symptoms, frequent hospital visits, sudden weight loss, trouble with daily tasks, and overall mental decline.

  • When deciding whether hospice care is right for you, consider getting multiple doctor opinions and discussing your options with your family.

  • If you decide hospice care is the best option, start the preparation for conversion as early as possible and gather any necessary documents. Do plenty of research on hospice care providers to ensure you find the right one.


When is it Time for Hospice Care?

when is it time for hospice care

When you contemplate whether to move your loved one to hospice care, there are some signs you can look out for. 

Dr. Liz Geriatrics, a Medical Consultant for elderly people, advises:

“If someone is up walking, engaging, and they’re doing well, well, we don’t think about hospice at all. If they have cancer, and the tumor is a certain size, and that people with that size tumor often only live 6 months or so, that’s when you start enrolling in hospice.”

Additionally, she adds:

“For a lot of elders who have heart disease, and they’ve got more short of breath, their function is declining, they are in and out of the emergency room more often, they can’t do as much at home, they need to have oxygen, that’s when you want to think about hospice.”

With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the factors to consider to decide if it’s time for hospice care:

Treatment Is Ineffective

One of the most prominent signs that hospice care is worth considering is when a family member’s treatment is no longer effective. The goal of many treatments is to cure an illness or condition, but it might place a heavy burden on the recipient.

They might experience adverse side effects causing discomfort or pain. In addition, if the treatment itself is no longer effective in treating their condition, it usually indicates the potential benefits of the treatment no longer outweigh the burden.

Symptoms are Becoming Unmanageable

Another sign to look out for is if their symptoms become unmanageable through their usual treatment or medicine. When pain, nausea, trouble using the bathroom, etc., become too extreme, it may be time to consider hospice.

Hospice care prioritizes relieving these symptoms rather than trying to cure a condition. Your loved one can enjoy a better quality of life without discomfort.

Frequent Hospital & ER Visits

If you and your loved one are required to make overly frequent visits to the hospital to continue their treatment or a substantial amount of ER visits (i.e., three or more times in the last six months), it’s a sign to consider hospice care. 

A sign like this can indicate declining health, and it may be worth considering hospice care to ease your loved one’s condition.

Sudden Weight Loss

Weight loss, loss of appetite, or inability to eat/consume food can all indicate a decline in health. This sudden change is a typical occurrence with many terminal illnesses and is a reason to consider switching to hospice care.

Cannot Perform Daily Living Tasks

If your loved one is having trouble performing more simple tasks associated with daily living, hospice care may be the best decision. When a loved one can no longer go to the bathroom, bathe themselves, or feed themselves, the support and attention in hospice care can go a long way. 

Mental Decline

The final sign to look out for is a decline in mental function. Your loved one may have trouble remembering, communicating or thinking clearly. In turn, they could pull away from family or become irritable and cranky more frequently.

A decline in mental function is a sign that you may want to consider switching your loved one to hospice care. Hospice care can relieve certain irritations and save you and your loved one from unnecessary anguish. 


Is Hospice Care Right for You?

is hospice care right for you

If you witness some of these signs and think it might be time for hospice, we have some recommendations for steps to take. These actions can increase confidence in your decision and help you feel at peace with it.

Get Multiple Doctor Opinions

If only one doctor has recommended hospice care, it’s wise to get a second or third opinion. Deciding to move to hospice care is a big decision, and multiple opinions can reassure you it’s right.

While one doctor may recommend hospice, some may believe that continuing curative treatment is still an option. A second doctor may recommend palliative care, which still emphasizes relieving unpleasant symptoms from treatment or illness but continues to work on ultimately curing the condition.

At Trustworthy, we offer easy information sharing between all family members and trusted professionals. You can securely add all family doctors to access the documents they need to see regarding your family’s healthcare information.

When considering hospice care, you can share your loved one’s medical and treatment records with multiple doctors quickly with Trustworthy. 

Consider Personal Preferences

In addition to what a doctor or close family says, also consider your personal preferences. If you hold the power to decide on the course of your loved one’s care, your opinion matters.

Consider how you would like to see your loved one treated and what kind of facility, care, and attention they receive. 

Gather Information About Hospice Facilities

After deciding on hospice care, the next step is gathering as much information as possible about the different available hospice facilities.

You want to be familiar with a facility’s credentials, available programs/treatments, reputation/history, and additional services they provide for your loved one. The more information you can gather, the better it will allow you to make the most informed decision.

Discuss Options With Family and Loved Ones

Another helpful step is to ask for help from family and loved ones in making the choice. Others who are close to your loved one will be able to help you decide what is best for them and can assist in gathering information from doctors and potential hospice facilities. 

You can use our helpful guide detailing how to discuss end-of-life care with the patient. We know it is a difficult conversation for anybody, so some tips and preliminary ideas can be beneficial.


Preparing for Hospice Care

preparing for hospice care

Ultimately, deciding to transfer your loved one to hospice care is the most challenging part of the equation. However, the process doesn’t end there. You should be aware of several aspects of preparing for hospice care.

Start the Conversion Early

Ideally, it’s best to start the conversion process as soon as possible after deciding to opt for hospice care. You will have as much time as possible to prepare, gathering all the necessary information for the next steps.

By starting early, you ensure your loved one can enjoy the relief offered by hospice care as soon as possible.

Prepare Medical & Legal Documents

During the conversion, you must produce many medical and legal documents pertaining to you and your loved one. Typically, you will need a medical form for Life-Sustaining Treatment, medical documentation noting the prognosis of 6 months or under, and certain legal forms like Power of Attorney.

At Trustworthy, we offer a safe storage option for your and your family’s necessary medical and legal documents. We can help you tremendously simplify the document preparation process by giving you effortless access and sharing of your documents between family and trusted professionals.

For Home-Based Hospice Care, Begin Making Arrangements 

If you opt for home-based hospice care for your loved one, there are several arrangements to make before moving them home. Preparations can include special equipment, living spaces, and any renovations required.

Depending on the scale of the arrangements, they can take some time, so start as soon as possible.

Notify Family Members

At some point during or after the decision, you must notify your other family members of the conversion of your loved one’s care to hospice. They may want to know the current status of their treatment, but once you notify them, they can help you with certain steps in the conversion process.

You can use Trustworthy for easy sharing of information with family on significant matters like this one. We offer easy-to-use collaboration and tools where you can work seamlessly to share important documents 100% online.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do hospices decrease life expectancy?

While hospice care involves stopping curative treatment, no evidence indicates hospices directly decrease life expectancy. On the contrary, a study done in 2006 found hospice patients survived longer than non-hospice patients on average.

What questions should I ask myself to determine if I need a hospice?

Ask yourself if the treatment you are receiving is effective, if your symptoms or side effects are still tolerable, if you have sudden weight loss or trouble with daily tasks, and if the number of hospital visits you make is manageable.

How do doctors know when it's time for hospice?

Doctors determine that it's time for hospice if any possible benefits of your current treatment no longer outweigh the burden of adverse side effects of the treatment you receive or symptoms of your condition.

What is the difference between palliative care and hospice?

Palliative and hospice care both emphasize relieving unpleasant symptoms brought about by a patient’s illness or treatment. However, hospice care no longer attempts to treat or cure the patient’s illness, while palliative care still contains curative treatments.

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

Choosing end-of-life care for your loved one is one of the most challenging decisions you will ever have to make. Though it comes with great pain, there are several signs to look out for indicating the time is right.

Depending on your loved one’s condition and treatment, it’s possible to prioritize their comfort and quality of life during their remaining time. To help you understand this decision and when to make it, we’ll explain the signs to look for, what to consider beforehand, and steps you can take ahead of time to prepare. 


Key Takeaways

  • Some signs indicating it's time for hospice care include ineffective treatment, unmanageable symptoms, frequent hospital visits, sudden weight loss, trouble with daily tasks, and overall mental decline.

  • When deciding whether hospice care is right for you, consider getting multiple doctor opinions and discussing your options with your family.

  • If you decide hospice care is the best option, start the preparation for conversion as early as possible and gather any necessary documents. Do plenty of research on hospice care providers to ensure you find the right one.


When is it Time for Hospice Care?

when is it time for hospice care

When you contemplate whether to move your loved one to hospice care, there are some signs you can look out for. 

Dr. Liz Geriatrics, a Medical Consultant for elderly people, advises:

“If someone is up walking, engaging, and they’re doing well, well, we don’t think about hospice at all. If they have cancer, and the tumor is a certain size, and that people with that size tumor often only live 6 months or so, that’s when you start enrolling in hospice.”

Additionally, she adds:

“For a lot of elders who have heart disease, and they’ve got more short of breath, their function is declining, they are in and out of the emergency room more often, they can’t do as much at home, they need to have oxygen, that’s when you want to think about hospice.”

With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the factors to consider to decide if it’s time for hospice care:

Treatment Is Ineffective

One of the most prominent signs that hospice care is worth considering is when a family member’s treatment is no longer effective. The goal of many treatments is to cure an illness or condition, but it might place a heavy burden on the recipient.

They might experience adverse side effects causing discomfort or pain. In addition, if the treatment itself is no longer effective in treating their condition, it usually indicates the potential benefits of the treatment no longer outweigh the burden.

Symptoms are Becoming Unmanageable

Another sign to look out for is if their symptoms become unmanageable through their usual treatment or medicine. When pain, nausea, trouble using the bathroom, etc., become too extreme, it may be time to consider hospice.

Hospice care prioritizes relieving these symptoms rather than trying to cure a condition. Your loved one can enjoy a better quality of life without discomfort.

Frequent Hospital & ER Visits

If you and your loved one are required to make overly frequent visits to the hospital to continue their treatment or a substantial amount of ER visits (i.e., three or more times in the last six months), it’s a sign to consider hospice care. 

A sign like this can indicate declining health, and it may be worth considering hospice care to ease your loved one’s condition.

Sudden Weight Loss

Weight loss, loss of appetite, or inability to eat/consume food can all indicate a decline in health. This sudden change is a typical occurrence with many terminal illnesses and is a reason to consider switching to hospice care.

Cannot Perform Daily Living Tasks

If your loved one is having trouble performing more simple tasks associated with daily living, hospice care may be the best decision. When a loved one can no longer go to the bathroom, bathe themselves, or feed themselves, the support and attention in hospice care can go a long way. 

Mental Decline

The final sign to look out for is a decline in mental function. Your loved one may have trouble remembering, communicating or thinking clearly. In turn, they could pull away from family or become irritable and cranky more frequently.

A decline in mental function is a sign that you may want to consider switching your loved one to hospice care. Hospice care can relieve certain irritations and save you and your loved one from unnecessary anguish. 


Is Hospice Care Right for You?

is hospice care right for you

If you witness some of these signs and think it might be time for hospice, we have some recommendations for steps to take. These actions can increase confidence in your decision and help you feel at peace with it.

Get Multiple Doctor Opinions

If only one doctor has recommended hospice care, it’s wise to get a second or third opinion. Deciding to move to hospice care is a big decision, and multiple opinions can reassure you it’s right.

While one doctor may recommend hospice, some may believe that continuing curative treatment is still an option. A second doctor may recommend palliative care, which still emphasizes relieving unpleasant symptoms from treatment or illness but continues to work on ultimately curing the condition.

At Trustworthy, we offer easy information sharing between all family members and trusted professionals. You can securely add all family doctors to access the documents they need to see regarding your family’s healthcare information.

When considering hospice care, you can share your loved one’s medical and treatment records with multiple doctors quickly with Trustworthy. 

Consider Personal Preferences

In addition to what a doctor or close family says, also consider your personal preferences. If you hold the power to decide on the course of your loved one’s care, your opinion matters.

Consider how you would like to see your loved one treated and what kind of facility, care, and attention they receive. 

Gather Information About Hospice Facilities

After deciding on hospice care, the next step is gathering as much information as possible about the different available hospice facilities.

You want to be familiar with a facility’s credentials, available programs/treatments, reputation/history, and additional services they provide for your loved one. The more information you can gather, the better it will allow you to make the most informed decision.

Discuss Options With Family and Loved Ones

Another helpful step is to ask for help from family and loved ones in making the choice. Others who are close to your loved one will be able to help you decide what is best for them and can assist in gathering information from doctors and potential hospice facilities. 

You can use our helpful guide detailing how to discuss end-of-life care with the patient. We know it is a difficult conversation for anybody, so some tips and preliminary ideas can be beneficial.


Preparing for Hospice Care

preparing for hospice care

Ultimately, deciding to transfer your loved one to hospice care is the most challenging part of the equation. However, the process doesn’t end there. You should be aware of several aspects of preparing for hospice care.

Start the Conversion Early

Ideally, it’s best to start the conversion process as soon as possible after deciding to opt for hospice care. You will have as much time as possible to prepare, gathering all the necessary information for the next steps.

By starting early, you ensure your loved one can enjoy the relief offered by hospice care as soon as possible.

Prepare Medical & Legal Documents

During the conversion, you must produce many medical and legal documents pertaining to you and your loved one. Typically, you will need a medical form for Life-Sustaining Treatment, medical documentation noting the prognosis of 6 months or under, and certain legal forms like Power of Attorney.

At Trustworthy, we offer a safe storage option for your and your family’s necessary medical and legal documents. We can help you tremendously simplify the document preparation process by giving you effortless access and sharing of your documents between family and trusted professionals.

For Home-Based Hospice Care, Begin Making Arrangements 

If you opt for home-based hospice care for your loved one, there are several arrangements to make before moving them home. Preparations can include special equipment, living spaces, and any renovations required.

Depending on the scale of the arrangements, they can take some time, so start as soon as possible.

Notify Family Members

At some point during or after the decision, you must notify your other family members of the conversion of your loved one’s care to hospice. They may want to know the current status of their treatment, but once you notify them, they can help you with certain steps in the conversion process.

You can use Trustworthy for easy sharing of information with family on significant matters like this one. We offer easy-to-use collaboration and tools where you can work seamlessly to share important documents 100% online.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do hospices decrease life expectancy?

While hospice care involves stopping curative treatment, no evidence indicates hospices directly decrease life expectancy. On the contrary, a study done in 2006 found hospice patients survived longer than non-hospice patients on average.

What questions should I ask myself to determine if I need a hospice?

Ask yourself if the treatment you are receiving is effective, if your symptoms or side effects are still tolerable, if you have sudden weight loss or trouble with daily tasks, and if the number of hospital visits you make is manageable.

How do doctors know when it's time for hospice?

Doctors determine that it's time for hospice if any possible benefits of your current treatment no longer outweigh the burden of adverse side effects of the treatment you receive or symptoms of your condition.

What is the difference between palliative care and hospice?

Palliative and hospice care both emphasize relieving unpleasant symptoms brought about by a patient’s illness or treatment. However, hospice care no longer attempts to treat or cure the patient’s illness, while palliative care still contains curative treatments.

Try Trustworthy today.

Try Trustworthy today.

Try the Family Operating System® for yourself. You (and your family) will love it.

Try the Family Operating System® for yourself. You (and your family) will love it.

No credit card required.

No credit card required.

Explore More Articles

Load more