Visiting Nurse Association

When to Call Hospice


When to Call Hospice

So frequently the staff of St. Luke’s Hospice hears, “We wish we would have called hospice sooner.” It is a common misconception that hospice care is only for the last few days or weeks of life when, in fact, patients and families can benefit most when they have hospice for the final months of life.

St. Luke’s Hospice can help determine if it’s the right time for hospice care. Don’t hesitate to call, 484-526-1100, for an evaluation. Our nurse liaisons will come to your home, a hospital, and/or facility to speak to you and your family about hospice services and eligibility requirements. There is no cost or commitment to elect hospice, just information and education.

“All of the people we met through Hospice were wonderful. I never knew such care was available and I am very grateful for their help.” — Jean G.

Sometimes physicians mention hospice services, but not always. It is important that you and your family understand the benefits of curative versus comfort care, and that you and your doctor share the same goals for maintaining quality of life.

Some signs that you may be ready for hospice are:

  • An increase in pain, nausea, breathing distress or other symptoms
  • Repeated hospitalizations or trips to the emergency room
  • Failure to "bounce back" after medical set-backs occur
  • Increasing assistance needed for walking, eating, bathing, dressing and/or going to the toilet
  • Decreasing alertness, emotionally withdrawn, sleeping more or having increased difficulty with comprehension.
  • A significant loss of weight and decreasing appetite

Some signs that your family and/or caregiver would benefit from hospice care:

  • Your caregiver is physically and/or emotionally exhausted from caring for their loved one
  • Your family is feeling isolated because of care-giving demands or the uncertainties they feel about your future
  • Your family members appear to need emotional support to cope with the impending death
  • Your caregiver is overwhelmed by physical, financial, emotional and spiritual concerns arising because of the illness.

St. Luke’s Hospice welcomes the opportunity to provide information about end-of-life care whether or not you and your family are receiving services at the time of the call. Even if someone doesn’t think it’s time, call us for information at 484-526-1100. No physician referral is needed to call.

If after speaking with your doctor you decide to pursue a different course of treatment, you may always stop hospice care. St. Luke’s Hospice can assist in that transition.