The fact is hospice is for anyone living with a life limiting illness that has a life expectancy of approximately six months or less.

Did you know you can leave hospice at any time for any reason. Consider hospice care early – we think you will be amazed at how much hospice improves the quality of life for those we serve.

General Guidelines that indicate it is time to consider hospice:

  1. A recent decline in functional status/physical decline
    • Multiple falls
    • Increased calls/visits to physician
    • Emergency Department visits
    • Hospitalizations
    • Sleeping more
    • Increase in pain or other symptoms
    • Change in mental status (less alert, more confused, etc.)
  2. Dependence upon others for Activities of Daily Living (ADL).  Needs more help with:
    • Bathing
    • Dressing
    • Using the rest room
    • Eating
  3. Recent decline in nutritional status with unintentional weight loss
  4. Multiple chronic diseases or conditions

Common Hospice Diagnoses & Some of Their Hospice Indicators


  • Curative treatment unlikely to improve quality or length of life
  • Metastasis to multiple sites

Heart Failure

  • Chest pain and/or shortness of breath with and without activity
  • Taking multiple cardiac medications
  • Patient and/or physician believe heart surgery is not a preferred option

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  • Shortness of breath at rest and with any activity
  • Recurring respiratory infections
  • Using multiple inhalers with poor response


  • Speaks few intelligible words
  • Needs help to sit up
  • Unable to walk without assistance


  • Difficulty swallowing, unable to take in adequate nutrition
  • No feeding tube (current or planned)

Liver Failure

  • Ascites despite use of diuretics
  • Serum albumin 1.5

Renal Failure

  • Considering stopping dialysis
  • Serum creatinine >8.0 (>6.0 for diabetics)


  • CD4+ count 100,000
  • Secondary conditions(Kaposi’s sarcoma, pneumocystis pneumonia, fungal infections, etc.)

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

  • Barely intelligible speech
  • Significant shortness of breath
  • Difficulty swallowing accompanied by rapid weight loss
  • No feeding tube or ventilator (current or planned)

Patients and families often tell us that they wish they had known about hospice sooner. It is never too early to educate yourself about hospice or ask for a hospice evaluation. We encourage you to contact us or fill out our contact us form to request additional information about hospice or to request a no obligation visit and evaluation.

Hospice should be a timely choice… Not a last resort.