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When to Make a Hospice Referral

We understand that as a primary care physician you only want what is best for your patient. If you and your patient determine that continuing treatment to cure their illness is not the best option, you may consider submitting a hospice referral. Referring your patient for a hospice evaluation will allow a hospice medical director to help you determine if hospice is indeed appropriate. Timely referrals allow for your patient and their families to benefit fully from hospice by having the time to develop a meaningful and therapeutic relationship.

Some signs that may indicate eligibility for hospice care:

  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Excessive sleeping throughout the day for long periods
  • Multiple hospital visits/stays in the past 6 months
  • Excessive swelling of the legs and ankles, even when feet are propped up
  • Difficult breathing, even at rest or with increased oxygen levels
  • Weakness during activities of daily living
  • Frequent changes in medications
  • Pain that is poorly controlled
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Not “bouncing back” after an illness
  • Not responding to current treatments or therapy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Confusion
  • Wounds that aren’t healing
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