Hospice is a service provided through medicare for the terminally ill and their families. They provide in-home care so the patient doesn’t have to go to the doctor and the family doesn’t have to worry about some expenses. Even medications are delivered to the patient.

They also provide help for the family. It’s easy to get depressed when watching a loved one die. A social worker assigned to a case will talk to the family and provide counseling where it’s needed. For those with religious beliefs an appropriate spiritual leader is provided.

Why Go Off? I know of two reasons a person goes off hospice care other than the obvious. One is that the person begins to thrive. They become stable and are no longer termed terminally ill. That is called “graduating off hospice.” It isn’t a frequent event but our elder did.

The second is noncompliance. I found out about that when  hospice care service one of the in-home caregivers decided to circumvent the orders given to us by our elder’s doctors and nurses. I was told that either the caregiver went or hospice ended. The caregiver went.

What Happens? There were a number of things that had to happen because hospice was no longer providing services. An indirect result was that our elder had to move to a different location. The services hospice provided were expensive on our own.

The second is that it is a lot more work for the family and sometimes with very little support. We experienced this in spades. I had been spending time with our elder one week out of the month. After hospice it became more along the lines of three weeks out of the month.

We are fortunate to have people in our church help with emotional support as did some of our elder’s neighbors. We are fortunate that our doctor could provide the other support we needed.

Avoiding Noncompliance: I am sure that this information is in the rather large packet of information the hospice people gave me. If it is, I missed it. Compliance means that all orders are followed appropriately. It means that when new symptoms develop, especially if they are negative, the nurses are called. It is one reason why we had 24/7 in-home care at the time and why we had to move our elder.

If an elder is in a facility or is going to one check to see if they support hospice care. While there are some places that are hospice only some assisted living, board and care as well as nursing homes may provide the services. It is one reason we chose our elder’s assisted living. Be sure to ask when interviewing those who run the facility.



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