When Is It Time for Hospice?

Aging is challenging. Many adults fear aging because they don’t want to lose their independence and self-sufficiency, or be a burden to their families. Nobody wants to think about the loss of someone they love and watching a loved one age may bring fear. 

Because death is a difficult topic, many families don’t like to have discussions about end-of-life care. However, now  is the best time to learn about hospice—before it is needed. Even if end-of-life care is hard to discuss, it’s wise for loved ones and family members to talk before there is an emergency.

Decisions like this are best made when there is time to carefully consider all options, not when there is a crisis, and emotions are running high. Discussing end-of-life wishes in advance can greatly reduce stress, emotion and anxiety when the time for hospice is at hand ensuring your loved one can enjoy the most quality time possible with friends and family.

Quality time with loved ones is a major goal of hospice. When thinking about hospice, consider the quality of life for your loved one. Continued medical treatment may provide a few more weeks or months of life, but could make the patient too ill or uncomfortable to enjoy that time.

Below are some common signs that it may be time for hospice:

  • Frequent hospitalizations or trips to the emergency room
  • Treatment is no longer effective or beneficial
  • There are recurring infections and symptoms that are getting harder to manage
  • Consistent uncontrolled pain, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting
  • Inability to carry out daily tasks, such as getting dressed, eating, walking and using the restroom
  • Decreased alertness or ability to communicate
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Increased confusion and sleep

While the decision to begin hospice care can be a difficult one, if your loved one is experiencing several symptoms above, it may be time to seek additional help.

Patients are eligible for hospice when a physician certifies they have a life expectancy of six months or less. If a patient lives beyond those six months, he/she may continue receiving hospice services if they continue to decline and their doctor documents eligibility.

Hospice is designed to allow you and your loved ones the opportunity to cherish the end of life rather than  missing out on important moments. For information about VNA Hospice are or if you think it is time for hospice for you or your loved one, contact VNA at (214) 535-2615 or gethelp@vnatexas.org