Originally Posted by slenderella
My Dad, 78, decided today that he was going to stop treatment for his acute leukemia. He is going to be taken from the hospital into hospice care in a day or two. Since I was not at the hospital today, can you help me understand if the doctor recommended this or if at any time the patient themselves can determine how they want to spend the rest of their lives?
I had imagined hospice care was for a very small window of time. Do you have loved ones in hospice care for many months??
Thanks, and I am so sorry for your pain, everyone.
There are regulations for hospice. Basically the hospice rules goes with Medicare A/B's rules. The patients have to be dying in 6 months to qualify for the service. Even if the patient wants to have hospice, the doctor has to determine that this fits the rules. For acute illness, the doctors usually have to write a letter saying the person is dying in 6 months. There are lots of hospice co. or home hospice services that go with the rules.
It is more complicated with people who have dementia or Alzheimer's. Basically this kind of patients are dying slowly and may not die in 6 months. So as long as they are qualified for some 5 disabled conditions plus some critical illness like heart failure, they can stay in hospice for 6 months. If they don't die in 6 months, the family can re-apply for hospice again. It is more complicated for Alzheimer's because the patient becomes very anxious and makes it hard to take care of the person. Often the family goes for hospice when the patient is in the very late stage.
If he still lives after 6 months, I think he can re-apply to stay.
Some people even get out of hospice alive. So it depends.
I am sorry your Dad wants to give up the treatment. Acute leukemia is very hard to be treated unless he wants to try bone marrow transplant.
Also, it is up to the patient to sign up for hospice. No one can force him to go there. However, in the end, when the pain comes, he will need hospice for sure to feel comfortable.