A Referral To Hospice: What Happens Next?

Referral To Hospice bolingbrookThe end of life discussion is oftentimes very hard to have. The discussion may come as a surprise to a patient and their family. There are many questions and emotions that are faced during this conversation. Your patient and their family deserve the best explanation of their life limiting illness and condition, and to be allowed the time to process and ask questions about what to expect. In addition to the clear explanation that you provide, hospice can assist with the time and ongoing education and support to families.

The hospice benefit is available to any patient qualifying with a life limiting disease, terminal diagnosis, with a life expectancy of 6 months or less. Is your patient experiencing a decline in condition, are they out of treatment options for a terminal illness, are they experiencing worsening or unmanaged symptoms such as pain? This is when a hospice evaluation would be appropriate.

What Happens After We Get A Referral To Hospice?

To begin a hospice consultation, Angels Grace Hospice would need an order or referral. This information can be called to our office, or faxed to our office. Along with the order/referral, a demographics sheet, a history and physical, and a current visit note is required. This helps us identify patient information, verify insurance and Medicare coverage, confirm that the patient is within our hospice coverage area, and gives us some background on their illness. Angels Grace Hospice would then start the process of communicating with the patient and family regarding the services we provide. The initial phone call provides some basic information, while the in person meeting provides a very involved and thorough description of the services hospice provides, including how the hospice team and visits work, explanation of medications and symptom management, an assessment of equipment and supply needs, and coverage.

Hospice will work with you, your patients and families, along with our medical director and hospice team, to develop a plan of care that meets your patient’s needs. This plan is reviewed and updated every 2 weeks, and with any changes that are required. You will be kept up to date on the changes and condition of your patient. We want to partner with you to make the end of life process as comfortable as possible. Oftentimes the hospice referral comes too late. While we are unable to always determine when hospice is needed, as in a sudden change of condition, with other circumstances we know that hospice is inevitable. The best use of hospice is when a patient is referred earlier in their diagnosis and decline. This gives the patient the time needed to obtain the additional support of the hospice team. Hospice often hears the phrase “I wish we had done this sooner” when caring for someone. It is up to the hospice team to help evaluate for hospice appropriateness, using the Hospice Medicare guidelines. It is never too soon to refer to Angels Grace Hospice for a hospice evaluation and discussion.

At Angels Grace Hospice, in Bolingbrook, IL we provide customized care plans specific to each of patients and their families. We provide end-of-life care at home, hospitals, skilled nursing homes or assisted-living facilities depending on individual circumstances. Contact us with any questions and for further assistance with your end of life care options.