When Should I Refer?

Our team are experienced specialists in end-of-life care, we focus on the comfort of the patient while making each day count, instead of counting down the days. It is important as a physician to speak with patients and their family about the benefits of hospice as soon as they may qualify. By doing so, this will allow the patient to spend their time being as comfortable as possible, being cared for by our 5 star rated hospice team, and preparing the family for the future.

Typically a patient is referred to hospice when their life expectancy is 6 months or less depending on the course of their disease. This prognosis is the physician’s best estimate of how long the illness will take to run its course before the patient dies.  Another requirement is that patients who elect hospice must forgo curative treatment, either because they no longer wish to receive it or because it is no longer effective. When the burden of treatment outweighs the benefits and/or the patient has had multiple hospitalizations over the last several months, he or she might be ready for hospice. Other indications include:

  • Excessive sleeping throughout the day
  • Weakness during daily living activities
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Multiple hospital visits/stays in the past six months
  • Excessive swelling of the legs and ankles
  • Difficulty breathing at rest or with increased oxygen levels
  • Pain that is not minimally controlled
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Trouble sleeping due to pain, shortness of breath or other symptoms
  • Not “bouncing back” after an illness
  • Not responding to current treatments or therapy
  • Loss of appetite and/or speech
  • Frequent changes in medications
  • Confusion
  • Wounds that aren’t healing and Infections

If as a physician, you find it difficult to speak with patients and their families about hospice, feel free to call us any time for suggestions on how to talk about hospice, or even allow us the opportunity to speak directly with them to help understand the importance of hospice care. 573.324.2111

Below are booklets that can help healthcare providers determine if a patient qualifies/is eligible for hospice care, as well as information on symptom management, along with a reference guide for families considering hospice care. If you would like to have FREE hard copies of these booklets, please contact us today!


Download/view the PDF’s:

Considering Hospice Care: A discussion guide for families and loved ones

Determining Hospice Eligibility: A guide to aid physicians in the important role they play in referring patients to hospice care.

Symptom Management Guide for End of Life Care: A guide for healthcare providers

Downloadable Forms and Resources

Pike County Hospice Brochure

Determining Hospice Eligibility

Symptom Management Guide for End of Life Care

Pike County Hospice Referral Form

Additional Resources

According to a new study, many people wait too long to get special end-of-life care. You can be the guiding hand to helping the patient and family understand the benefit to beginning hospice as soon as they qualify. Read the article here.