Hospice physicians make the ultimate decision – they evaluate the patient at the hospital or wherever the patient resides and identify the patient’s need for end-of-life care and making a referral to hospice.
A physician’s order or referral for hospice means the assessment has determined that the patient has 6 months or less to live. Upon referral, the patient will receive an initial 90-day period of hospice care paid for by Medicare. After the initial 90 days, if the patient continues to live, the physician must re-evaluate and re-certify the patient for hospice every 60 days.
This is not only a difficult decision to make for the physician but an even more difficult conversation to have with families. Some people may feel that the conversation of hospice care mans the doctor has given up. When in fact it just means the doctor has evaluated the patient and made the assessment that the best outcome is for the patient to live out his or her remaining days with dignity and in comfort, giving the patient and their family a chance to adequately get their affairs in order and say goodbye.
The physician will set realistic goals for the patient and educate the family on these goals and how best to achieve them. The Faith in Angels Hospice physician is an expert at symptom and pain management which is a crucial part of ensuring a patient lives out their remaining days in comfort and without struggle.
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A much belated note to thank all the dedicated staff of Faith in Angels Hospice for the compassionate care giving to not only my husband, Phillip, but also to our family. During that time FIAH was our guiding angel. I will forever be amazed and in awe of the professional but personal attention each and every FIAH staff member evidenced while caring for my husband.