Discussing all care options—including palliative and hospice care—is appropriate at any stage of a serious illness. These discussions can help guide patients, their physicians and their families in making the best decisions about care at the right time.
Deciding when to begin hospice is a very personal decision. It often becomes clear that it’s time to consider hospice when tests and treatments are no longer effective, or patients are hospitalized repeatedly. Sometimes, physicians will be the first to mention hospice, but often, the family begins the discussion. We encourage patients to begin conversations now with their physicians and family members regarding end-of-life wishes, including advance healthcare planning and the designation of a healthcare agent.
Hospice care is most beneficial when referrals are made as early as possible following a terminal diagnosis. The sooner patients choose Stillwater Hospice’s expert hospice programs, the sooner we can provide symptom management to ease their pain, allowing them to focus on enjoying meaningful moments with loved ones.