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When Should I Discuss Hospice?

Physicians know their patients best and can identify opportunities to introduce hospice as an option within the care continuum. The less urgent the occasion, the greater the opportunity for dialogue. Indeed, when its full benefits are highlighted, hospice can be discussed in a hopeful and constructive manner.

A good time to introduce end-of-life discussions can be when discussing the discharge plan following a patient’s hospitalization for a life-threatening diagnosis, discussing a terminal illness a family member is facing, or when responding to grief-related problems within the family. On these occasions, the discussion can take many directions. Below are suggestions for getting started:

  • Describe the concepts of hospice care
  • Ask the patient if they understand hospice; be prepared to provide a selection of informative brochures
  • Offer hospice care as an alternative to curative care when presenting a plan of care or discharging patients from the hospital or skilled nursing facility
  • Recognize that hospice offers support not just to patients, but to caregivers/family
  • Present a plan of care that offers patient options amenable to change and discussion
  • Recommend a consultation with an Altus Hospice professional

Studies show that pain and symptom management is a particular concern for patients and caregivers facing a life-limiting illness. Altus staff members are experts in state of the art pain and symptom management. We can assist patients and caregivers in feeling comfortable with pain management options in the home setting or wherever they call home. If in-home caregivers require new caregiving skills or medication management and administration, you can count on the Altus staff for training and guidance.

Most all care for the hospice patient’s comfort can be provided at home or in alternative long-term care environments. Recent technological advances allow for a wide variety of equipment that can be installed in the home, thus reducing the need for hospitalization, except in the most complicated cases. In instances where symptoms cannot be controlled at home, inpatient hospice is available and respite care is an option for caregiver fatigue and support.

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Altus Hospice was established in Texas in 2007 and has been proudly serving Texas ever since. Our emphasis is on palliative care and quality of life. Every effort is made to make the patient more comfortable and fulfill their wishes. Our team is highly trained to provide patients and families with medical, practical, emotional, and spiritual support. – Altus Hospice Care 

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