Columbus: 706-507-5445
Hospice Eligibility

Hospice Eligibility

Hospice is a special kind of care designed to provide comfort and support for patients and their families during the final stages of life. To be eligible for hospice care, the patient’s doctor and the hospice medical director must certify that the patient has a life expectancy of six months or less, if the disease progression were to run its normal course. Additionally, when a patient elects the hospice benefit they have accepted a goal of treatment focused on palliative care, comfort and relief from pain and symptoms. To be eligible for hospice services, the potential patient and/or family (where appropriate) must:

  • Have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less.
  • Be assessed for needs and desire for hospice services prior to initiation of service.
  • Have orders from a consenting primary physician.
  • Have a primary caregiver in the home to participate in the interdisciplinary team’s care plan for the patient.
  • Sign an informed consent (by patient and/or primary caregiver) to receive only palliative, rather than curative forms of care.

Coverage of hospice care depends upon a physician’s certification that an individual’s life expectancy is six months or fewer if the illness runs its normal course. A common misconception about hospice is that it is a service provided only to cancer patients. The fact is that we provide care to patients with any end stage diagnosis. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • ALS
  • Heart Disease/CHF
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Lung Disease/COPD
  • Stroke and/or Coma
  • HIV Disease
  • Neurological Diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Dementia, etc.)
  • Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)
  • Renal Failure
  • Cancer

There are no absolute rules to qualify for hospice services but the following are guidelines commonly used to determine hospice eligibility.

  • The patient’s expected life span of 6 months or less is based on the patient’s condition at the time of diagnosis. The patient must show persistent decline during this time in order to remain on hospice care. If patient’s condition improves, patient can be discharged from hospice services. The services can be resumed at any time as the patient’s condition worsens.
  • The patient must have a life limiting condition in order to qualify for hospice care
  • The patient/decision maker must desire palliative approach rather than curative focus
  • The progression of disease must be documented:
  • By disease specific markers—physical examination, labs, imaging
  • Multiple hospital admissions or ER visits
  • Decline in functional status
  • Impaired nutritional status
  • Physician’s best medical opinion

For more information on hospice and our services, please call 706-507-5445 or email us at if you have any questions or need assistance.