How Long Can A Person Be On Hospice?

By: Tom Gallagher
Monday, May 30, 2022

Hospice care is designed specifically for persons nearing the end of their lives and requiring support. Emotional and psychological assistance and comfort are provided in a time of need. For the most part, hospice settings have social workers, primary care physicians, and family members in order to develop customized plans for each patient. A common question from clients at Thomas M. Gallagher Funeral Home is how long can a person be on hospice?

Even though Medicare limits hospice care to those with a prognosis of six months or fewer, there are a few notable exceptions. Hospice care should be available to those who are terminally ill. Despite this, there are several misunderstandings about hospice care.

Hospice Eligibility

Many people believe that only people with terminal cancer are eligible for hospice. However, it isn't just for people with cancer; it also helps those with other terminal illnesses. Patients with the diseases listed below may also be eligible for hospice care:

  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke
  • AIDS
  • Any terminal illness
  • Heart failure
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Final stages of Alzheimer’s or other neurological conditions

The hospice program's guidelines include the following:

  • Two 90-day hospice periods are available to the patient.
  • Evaluations are done every 60 days after the two 90-day benefit durations have expired.
  • Physicians reevaluate the patient's condition after 90 days and affirm a six-month or shorter life expectancy.

In hospice care, there are several levels, and as a result, the guidelines can vary. They consist of:

  • Level One: Basic Care
  • Level Two: Continuous Home Care
  • Level Three: General Care
  • Level Four: Respite Care

Assessments like this one provide valuable data at every level. If you want information about our services here at Thomas M. Gallagher Funeral Home, contact us today.

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