How To Qualify For Hospice
There are criteria that must be met to qualify for admission to a hospice program. In general, they are as follows:
Short Life Expectancy
- Your personal physician must provide certification that you have a life expectancy of less than six months if your health condition runs its normal course. The requirement for a six month life expectancy has never been defined -- particularly with respect to whether it applies to people who arguably qualify or whether there needs to be a virtual certainty.
- Doctors are not held liable for their estimates.
- If you do not have a personal physician, a hospice organization may be able to arrange for certification through the services of one of their doctors.
Statement from the patient
- Patients or their guardians are generally required to sign a statement indicating that:
- They understand the terminal nature of their illness and that hospice care basically focuses on controlling symptoms rather than curing disease.
Additional requirements of a particular hospice
- Hospice agencies may have their own additional admission requirements. For example, there may be a requirement that:
- The patient live within a specified area, or
- Have a caregiver team of family, friends or other volunteers to provide primary home care, or
- That the patient not be in a physical condition that the hospice is not prepared to handle -- for instance, a patient on a feeding tube.
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