Hospice does nothing to speed up or slow down the dying process. The focus is on holistic care for the patient and family. However, recent studies have shown that patients receiving hospice care may live longer than those receiving standard care.
There are times when a person's condition improves to the point that he or she no longer meets the eligibility requirement of a six month or less prognosis. We are always pleased when a person's condition is no longer considered terminal by a physician and the hospice team and he or she "graduates" from hospice care.
If at a later date it becomes necessary to return to hospice care, Medicare and most insurance programs will resume coverage.
Before a patient is discharged, a formal plan is drawn up by the interdisciplinary team working with the patient and family. All team members involved in the patient's care are involved in the discharge process. In order to ensure an optimal transition, the patient and family will have at least two weeks notice prior to the actual date of discharge. A hospice nurse remains in contact with the patient and family to monitor if hospice services may become appropriate again.
When discharged from hospice service, Transitions, a program of Benton Hospice Serivce is offered to graduates. Transitions is a non-medical program that provides support for individuals who are not under hospice care but are living with serious illness.