Anyone can refer a patient for hospice care. Hospice can provide services for more than a few days. Many times friends of families make the call because they see the need for help now. It’s not unusual for patients to live longer than six months after admission; in fact recent studies show that patients admitted to hospice can live longer due to the care and support hospice provides.
When a request for services is made, the referral must be approved by the patient’s primary physician; this can happen when the physician calls us, or we can call them. If we do make the call, we are very clear that this is the patient and/or family’s choice, and all services are overseen by the physician chosen by the family.
Once the referral is complete, hospice team members, usually a nurse and social worker, arrange to visit at the patient and family or caregiver’s convenience to answer questions and further discuss our services. At this time we complete an assessment, and services can begin that day. Prior to providing services we review all information and request that a few simple papers be signed. All medications, equipment and supplies related to the life-limiting illness are fully covered.
We are always guided by the patient and their family and will never push to get you started; take the time you need to make this important decision and ask all the questions that come to mind.