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How To Qualify For Hospice


There are criteria that must be met to qualify for admission to a hospice program. In general, they are as follows:

Short Life Expectancy  

  • Your personal physician must provide certification that you have a life expectancy of less than six months if your health condition runs its normal course. The requirement for a six month life expectancy has never  been defined -- particularly with respect to whether it applies to people who arguably qualify or whether there needs to be a virtual certainty.
  • Doctors are not held liable for their estimates.
  • If you do not have a personal physician, a hospice organization may be able to arrange for certification through the services of one of their  doctors.

Statement from the patient  

  • Patients or their guardians are generally required to sign a statement indicating that:
  • They understand the terminal nature of their  illness and that hospice care basically focuses on controlling  symptoms rather than curing disease.

Additional requirements of a particular hospice

  • Hospice agencies may have their own additional admission  requirements. For example, there may be a requirement that: 
    • The patient live within a specified area, or  
    • Have a caregiver  team of family, friends or other volunteers to  provide primary home care, or  
    • That the patient not be in a  physical condition that the hospice is not prepared to handle -- for instance, a  patient on a feeding tube.

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