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Hospice Care for Advanced Pulmonary Fibrosis

patient and nurse clasp hands and discuss hospice care for advanced pulmonary fibrosisWe understand the hardships that often come with advanced pulmonary fibrosis. Breathing problems, coughing fits, and fatigue are a heavy burden—for patients and their caregivers.

Families often share their need for a measure of hope when dealing with this complex disease. Not hope for a cure, but hope for relief and the best quality of life possible.

Hospice care for advanced pulmonary fibrosis covers a broad range of services, typically with no out-of-pocket expenses. The hospice circle of care includes:

  • Medications and therapies to reduce shortness of breath, coughing, pain, and other symptoms
  • 24/7 access to hospice nurses
  • Home medical equipment and personal care supplies
  • Strategies to reduce unwanted emergency care
  • Spiritual care tailored to your traditions and needs
  • Hospice aides for personal care and light homemaking
  • Education and support for family members
  • Managing anxiety
  • Short-term respite care (relief) for family caregivers
  • Care at home, in nursing facilities, or wherever someone calls home
  • Volunteers for running errands or short breaks for caregivers

Hospice Is About Quality of Life

Making end-of-life decisions is especially challenging with pulmonary fibrosis because it doesn’t follow a typical path. Families sometimes hope for one more rebound or an eleventh-hour lung transplant. Important end-of-life decisions can be pushed down the road too far when patients lose the ability to express their wishes.

The best hospice care for advanced pulmonary fibrosis experience begins with early and honest conversations. Be bold, ask questions, and share your goals and concerns with family members and your doctors.

It’s important for us to understand our options. No one knows what's going to happen or when. A little guidance can open the floodgates to conversations we're all having in our heads.

– The daughter of a recent hospice patient

Eligibility Guidelines for Hospice Care for Advanced Pulmonary Fibrosis

Hospice eligibility requires a patient’s doctor and a hospice medical director to determine a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease follows a normal course. Because PF rarely follows a normal course, doctors use their best clinical judgment to determine prognosis.

There is not a six-month cutoff for care, but a doctor must order the service every six months to determine if hospice is still appropriate. Patients or a proxy may decide to end hospice care at any time.

Hospice Is a Benefit You Have Earned

Hospice care for advanced pulmonary fibrosis is covered by Medicare, Veterans benefits, Medicaid, and some private insurance plans. These benefits give patients and families access to end-of-life care for advanced pulmonary fibrosis without an overwhelming financial burden.

What About Advanced Pulmonary Fibrosis Palliative Care?

Palliative care focuses on intensive relief from symptoms and stress of serious illness. It is an added layer of medical, emotional, and spiritual support for patients and their families.

Palliative care is different from hospice care for advanced pulmonary fibrosis because it can begin at any time after diagnosis. It does not require a life expectancy of six months or less. Medicare and many private insurance plans typically cover the cost of advanced pulmonary fibrosis palliative care consultations.

Advance Care Directives

Advance care directives are legal documents that describe the healthcare you would want to receive if you cannot speak for yourself. A living will and a healthcare proxy form are the foundation of advance care planning and directives. Some states combine these into a single form. Learn more about advanced care planning.

Start the Conversation About Advanced Pulmonary Fibrosis Home Care

Hospice is not just for the final days or hours of life. Patients with chronic conditions, such as pulmonary fibrosis, often gain the full benefits of care with an early referral. These early conversations reduce confusion and help patients and families receive the care they want.

If you have questions about hospice care for advanced pulmonary fibrosis, contact us 24/7 at one of our Compassus locations or call our resource center at 833.380.9583.