The hospice benefit is available to anyone with a life expectancy of six months or less if the terminal illness or disease runs its normal course. Similarly, a patient’s hospice benefit will not be revoked after six months and services may continue as long as the condition remains life-limiting. If a patient chooses to elect hospice and meets the medical criteria, by definition, they are eligible to receive hospice services.
Some patients may not meet the criteria, but may still be eligible for hospice care because of rapid functional decline or other co-morbidities. The patient’s eligibility must be certified by a physician, usually the patients’ primary care physician, in combination with the hospice Medical Director. It is the physician's clinical judgment regarding the normal course of the individual's illness or disease that determines a prognosis of six months or fewer.
When determining if hospice is the right decision for yourself or a loved one, we have several resources available to help educate both patients and families; Hospice, the Right Choice? and Guidelines for Determining Prognosis. Please Contact Us if you believe that you, a loved one, or a patient may be eligible for hospice, or visit our E-Referrals page to be contacted by a Heart to Heart Hospice employee.