Most people think of hospice only when it is abundantly clear to all concerned that a dying loved one has entered his or her last days. Consider that hospice can be brought on board months before this time. In many cases, hospice services help provide a deeper quality of life for the dying person. In some cases, it keeps them out of the home-to-hospital-to-home merry-go-round. In my mother's case, she was hospitalized twice within 6 months. Being aggressive about hospice, I put her on hospice and she avoided hospitalization for another 18 months. She was eventually discharged from hospice care, although I signed her up for in two more times.
She died in a hospital-based hospice, receiving gold-standard care that eliminated all signs of discomfort. I was comforted knowing a nurse was checking on her every 15 minutes and more often if needed.
Also know that hospices differ in their admission criteria even though they all follow the same federal guidelines. If one turns you down, try another. The first time I had my mother on hospice, it was the second one that admitted her.
Questions? contact ElderW.I.S.E. Advisor/Advocate at 248-585-7917.