Referrals to hospice may be made by anyone, including — but not limited to — physicians, discharge planners , home health agencies, social workers, patients, family members, nursing homes, friends and clergy.
Too often, referrals for hospice care are not made until the patient has uncontrolled symptoms or is near death. Although hospice care can do much to assist and provide care at this time, the patient and family can benefit much more from hospice services if referred earlier.
Many symptoms (such as pain) can be anticipated and prevented from becoming severe. Symptoms that might otherwise require a hospitalization or an emergency room visit can be successfully managed by the hospice team in the patient’s home. The patient’s and family’s quality of life can be greatly enhanced by early intervention.