Statistics reveal that many people are still waiting to the very end of a loved one’s life to call hospice. While awareness of hospice grows in the US, the numbers regarding time spent with hospice are cause for concern.
The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in February research revealing that more that 28 percent of patients received hospice care for three days or less. At Hope Hospice, we often have patients who pass away within three days of the date we admit them. While we provide the best service we can to those individuals and their families, we can only speculate how much more we could have done if we had had a longer time with the patient under our care.
Recently shared research by two Notre Dame grad students reveals more cause for concern. They asked 300 residents of northern Indiana when they would call hospice. About 11 percent said they would call when death is expected within a few days, about 12 percent said within a few months of an expected passing and 22 percent said they did not know.
A hospice official in northern Indiana responded to the Notre Dame study by saying, “The most common phrase we hear from families is, ‘I wish we had contacted hospice sooner.’”
A hospice nurse from that part of Indiana said that hospice workers are able to bond with families when they have enough time. She says, “People tend to wait to the last minute.” She says that with short-term hospice patients, “You’re just putting out fires.”
When is the correct time to call hospice? That is not always easy to say. Follow the advice of doctors. Although some doctors are still hesitant to recommend hospice—doctors are trained to cure—more and more are realizing the value of hospice.
If you have a loved one who may be eligible for hospice care, feel free to call us at Hope Hospice anytime. We encourage you not to wait to the last minute. Reach Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.