When Is It Time To Start Hospice Care?

A hospice professional visits a man receiving hospice at his home.

There are many factors that affect why someone decides to begin hospice care. In the United States, more than 1.6 million individuals receive hospice each year. You may be considering hospice if the side effects of your disease treatment begin to outweigh the possibility of a cure. We’ve identified signs that may mean it’s time to think about hospice. 

Signs It May Be Time For Hospice Care

When to start hospice is a personal decision. You get to decide if you want to continue or halt your disease treatment. While there is no “right” time for hospice, it may be beneficial for you or your loved one under these circumstances. 

Routine Tasks Are Difficult 

It may be necessary to start hospice care if you or your loved one struggle to complete daily tasks. If it’s too difficult to get up, bathe, or walk by yourself, you may want to consider hospice. When daily functioning becomes hard, a team of hospice staff and volunteers can help take care of you or your loved one. 

You Have Severe Pain

You may be ready for hospice if you are experiencing unbearable symptoms. Hospice care focuses on relieving pain and treating symptoms instead of curing your disease. If you have severe pain, trouble breathing, or depression, hospice care may help you live your final days in comfort and dignity. 

Other Signs 

If you’ve been diagnosed with six months or less to live, you may be experiencing other symptoms like drowsiness, unresponsiveness, and confusion. You may also have difficulty breathing or loss of appetite. These may be signs that you could benefit from the care and support of hospice professionals. If you have the above symptoms, you may be ready for hospice care. 

Hospice Care Eligibility 

Hospice care includes palliative care to relieve symptoms. You can start palliative care during disease treatment. However, you can only start hospice if you have been diagnosed with six months or less to live. You or your loved one must have stopped treatment of the disease to qualify for hospice. Instead of focusing on a cure, hospice care enhances the patient’s quality of life. 

People who opt to receive hospice care can be any age. Hospice patients often suffer from terminal illnesses or other debilitating conditions, like heart disease and dementia. At any time, you can discontinue hospice and resume treatment. 

Sooner Is Better Than Later

Many people never receive the full benefits of hospice care because they begin hospice too late. The sooner you begin care the sooner hospice professionals can identify your needs and implement a care plan. With a plan that’s tailored to your needs and end-of-life goals, you can spend your final days in less pain and among the people you love. 

Death is no easy subject. Talking about end-of-life with your loved ones can be difficult. The Conversation Project’s 2018 national survey reports that 92% of people believe that discussing their end-of-life wishes is important. However, only 32% of people have that conversation with their loved ones. When you express your wishes or listen to those of a loved one, you will be better prepared to plan for any end-of-life care you or your loved one would like to receive. 

Are you ready to talk about hospice?

Our team at Seasons Springfield can answer your care questions and help you decide if it’s time for you or your loved one to start hospice. Contact or call us at 417-890-5533 to begin planning for hospice today.

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Seasons Hospice is an independent community health care provider, not a large for-profit organization. We would not be able to offer our hospice services if we did not have the support of passionate community members who understand the importance of cost-free hospice care. To simplify the hospice process for patients and families, we rely on the generosity of our donors.