One or any combination of any of the following signs may indicate that renal disease has progressed to a point where all involved would likely benefit from hospice care:
- Ascites not responsive to treatment
- Serum albumin less than 2.5gm/ml
- Hepatic encephalopathy not responsive to treatment
- Hepatorenal syndrome
- Additional factors: progressive malnutrition and muscle wasting, active alcoholism, hepatitis B positive, hepatitis C not responsive or not a candidate for interferon, or patient noncompliance
Your patients may have priorities and goals aside from living longer. Talk with your patients about their health goals, fears and trade-offs of treatment. To help you determine if it’s time to recommend hospice care, ask your patients the following questions:
- What is your understanding of your health or your condition?
- What are your goals if your health worsens?
- What are your fears?
- What trade-offs are you willing to make and not willing to make?
Hospice care can help your patients, and you. We can help you determine if your patient qualifies for hospice care, or introduce the topic with your patients. Please use this information as a guideline. If you have questions about the medical guidelines for hospice care or a specific patient, please contact us online or call (800) 237-4629.