Is It The Right Time for Hospice?

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Adil Mohyuddin, M.D., a cancer specialist in Tullahoma, Tennessee, knew all the fine points about hospice care. His patients trusted him to guide them through the flood of emotional decisions that come with a life-limiting illness. Even as a doctor with extensive experience, he struggled with the timing of hospice during his own cancer diagnosis.

“Adil was trying to enroll in one last chemotherapy drug trial,” said his wife Sabina. “He was in pain and didn't think hospice was an option while waiting on the drug trial. When he finally chose hospice and got a pain pump, his mind and body had time to rest. He was more like himself. Although he passed away before getting in the drug trial, he didn’t have the pain and stress that came before getting the pump.”

Decisions surrounding the timing of end-of-life care can be difficult—for families and doctors. Care tends to focus on treatments. Too often, hospice or palliative care decisions are pushed down the road until a patient loses the ability to share what matters most to them and how they want to live.

When to consider comfort care

If someone has increasing difficulty with basic tasks such as walking, getting up from a chair, bathing, dressing or using the toilet, you may want to consider hospice care.

Have the Conversation

Patients often say quality of life is more important than how long they’ll live. Clear and honest conversations with patients and family members are the key to honoring a patient's goals and values.  An ideal tool for sharing end-of-life goals is through advance directive documents. 

hospice for mother

Hospice is a fully covered Medicare benefit

Coverage includes nurses, other caregivers, medicines, supplies, equipment and support, with no out-of-pocket expenses for the hospice diagnosis.

The Medicare Benefit for hospice.