When Can Hospice Help?

Published On 07/11/2011

Hospice is available to patients with any life-limiting conditions that no longer respond to curative treatment. Hospice may be appropriate for the situations listed below, as well as many others. 

For patients with Alzheimer's disease, when:

  • Swallowing becomes difficult.
  • There is a loss of bowel and bladder control
  • The patient is unable to speak, dress and feed him/herself.
  • Weight loss continues.

For patients with heart disease/congestive heart failure, when:

  • Fatigue is severe
  • The patient has shortness of breath and/or chest pain when at rest.
  • There is chronic fluid build up in chest and legs.
  • Hospital stays occur often.

For patients with lung disease, when:

  • There is poor control of symptoms.
  • Shortness of breath becomes disabling.
  • There is a dependency on oxygen.
  • Hospital stays occur often.

For patients with cancer, when:

  • The disease spreads to other organs (metastasis).
  • Treatment no longer slows down the disease.
  • Weight loss continues.

For stroke patients, when:

  • Swallowing becomes difficult.
  • There is a need for total care.
  • The patient is in a coma or persistent vegetative state.

For patients with end-stage kidney disease, when:

  • Fluid build-up in abdomen and legs becomes severe.
  • Hospital stays occur often.
  • Dialysis or transplant is not desired.

For patients with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), when:

  • It is difficult for patient to take care of him/herself.
  • Swallowing and breathing become difficult.
  • Muscles begin to deteriorate or become stiff.
  • Weight loss continues.

For patients with AIDS, when:

  • It is difficult for patient to take care of him/herself.
  • Medication no longer slows down the disease.
  • Infections are increasing.
  • Weight loss and weakness continue.

For patients with multi-system breakdown, when:

  • There is multiple organ failure, such as heart disease and chronic lung disease.
  • There is a continued decline in overall health.

More Information

To see if hospice care is appropriate for you and your family, ask your doctor or contact Methodist Hospice at 901.516.1600.