Most terminally ill people enter hospice care in their final weeks or days. However, some people start hospice during an earlier stage of the disease. How quickly a hospice will be set up depends on the person’s condition and the care needed at the end of life.
Most of the time, it doesn’t take more than a few days to set up a hospice. In some cases, though, it can be set up on the same day. To establish hospice care, patients must discontinue curative therapy for their condition. Typically, such a choice is made in consultation with the patient’s doctor.
The doctor must also fill out the paperwork confirming a six-month or shorter life expectancy.
The next step involves getting the appropriate paperwork, such as Medicare certification for hospice care, and calling the referral center (available 24/7) or contacting a local hospice organization to set up an assessment and determine the level of care the patient needs and prefers.