Your patient is eligible for hospice care if, in your medical judgment, the patient has a life-expectancy of six months or less, if the disease runs its expected course. Of course, many diseases are hard to prognosticate; for this reason, Medicare does not penalize the referring physician even if a patient lives longer. Hospice care can be extended beyond six months as long as the patient continues to have a prognosis of six months or less if the disease follows its normal course from the time of the most recent reassessment. Hospice Austin physicians are experts in determining prognosis and navigating Medicare guidelines.
Both the patient and the family benefit most from hospice care when they are able to access the full range of services. This is done best when the hospice team has months or weeks, rather than days, to address their needs.
When is it time to refer?
Your patient may be eligible for hospice care if he or she exhibits one or more of the following:
- The focus of treatment shifts to comfort care
- The patient, in your best judgment, has a prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course
- There is a loss of function/physical decline
- There is a history of frequent hospitalizations or ER visits
- Your patient needs help in most activities of daily living
- There are multiple co-morbidities
- Your patient has lost weight without trying
- Your patient’s pain and symptoms require close monitoring
- When the patient and family need additional physical and/or emotional support.
Diseases covered include:
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cerebrovascular disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Liver disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Neurological disorders
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Any other disease with an estimated prognosis of six months or less
Hospice Austin cares for any patient who qualifies for our services regardless of his or her age, diagnosis, or ability to pay. Please contact us at (512) 342-4700, fax (512) 343-7117, or refer a patient online.