Health care specialists are sometimes uncertain whether their patient may be eligible for hospice services. VITAS offers several solutions to help clinicians better recognize when a patient has transitioned to this phase of life.
In general, hospice should be considered with any of the following:
- When symptoms arise secondary to the diagnosis
- When a patient’s disease continues to progress or when the a patient stops responding to disease-modifying treatments
Additional insights into hospice eligibility can be found on our hospice guidelines, which include general and disease-specific guidance.
In general, look for these signs over the last 4-6 months:
- The illness, if it progresses as expected, has a prognosis of six months or less. (Ask yourself: “Would I be surprised to learn, six months from now, that this patient has died?” If your answer is no, request a hospice evaluation for this patient.)
- Patient has a PPS rating of < 50%-60%
- Patient is dependent in any 3 out of 6 ADLs
- Patient has lost more than 10% body weight, or another alteration in nutritional status
- Patient has had 3 or more hospital/ED visits
- Decrease in physical activity
- Decrease in cognitive ability
An interactive Palliative Performance Scale, which represents a strong predictor of hospice eligibility, can be found on our award-winning app; download it from the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Lastly, health care professionals can enhance their understanding of hospice including eligibility through our webinars and in-person trainings.