“I wish we had been referred to hospice sooner.” It’s a sentiment that recurs in patient/family surveys returned to hospices each year. And it is indicative of a trend that concerns hospice providers.
Despite the growth of patients and their families using hospice care, a number of studies have shown that the average length of stay has been declining. In fact, experts in hospice care agree that patients need to be enrolled for at least 60 days to take advantage of the full benefit of a hospice program. But sadly, while hospice care is most effective over a period of months, the median length of service in 2010 was 19.7 days. This number continues to decrease. In 2014, the median length of service was 17.4 days.
Yet, by providing the option of hospice care sooner, you as a physician can continue to make a positive change in the lives of your patients, and help them to maximize their quality of life.
Hospice is a positive option, one that aggressively seeks to provide comfort and freedom from pain and other symptoms. By understanding and accepting that death is part of the life cycle, Hospice of West Alabama (HOWA) wants to assist you in helping patients and their families make life its most meaningful until the end of life.
Pain and symptom management – while our number one goal – is just one of the benefits of early referral. There are many others, which include:
Helping live each of life’s moments to the fullest, with the ones who matter most. That’s what we do. To find out more about HOWA and the services we provide, call (205) 523-0101.
Hospice is the appropriate choice for a terminally ill patient when the burden of care becomes too much for the patient and family. Hospice of West Alabama will work with the patient’s own physician to provide:
Hospice can help a patient and family to enhance quality of life so they may spend peaceful time together. It offers a comforting alternative when a cure is no longer possible. Hospice can also eliminate unnecessary calls to 911 and trips to the emergency room by giving families the means to care for their loved one at home and the knowledge of what to expect at the end of life.
HOWA is a resource to physicians and other medical professionals who wish to access palliative care for patients. We can help you manage your terminally ill patients by providing services at whatever level you need, such as: