Do you have to be terminally ill to get hospice care?
It will vary from place to place, I think. But generally it is that a person is expected to die within a certain amount of time, usually six months. Naturally, there will be patients that fool everyone and manage to live for a year or more. So, yes. A person is supposed to be terminally ill. Hospice is not for someone whose family wants to do everything possible to prolong the loved one's life. And that includes taking him/her to the hospital when things start getting worse.
the definition I heard was 'incurable condition' (not six months to live) - I am, of course, in Texas. My Mom has had hospice care for 2 years (she has advanced MS and is 90 years old). The hopsice folks told my Dad "HE" is eligible also - 94 years old, type 2 diabetes, hi BP, hi cholesterol, . . . they call it 'end of life care'....
Call some of the hospice companies and ask them what the restrictions are.
There are three types of Hospice care, in the home, in a hospital or nursing home and in a Hospice Care facility in which there usually is a limited amount of space. I would think that home care could last the longest. So when you look at the situation, think about what type of care you wish. I have wondered just what a hospice employee would do at a hospital or NH that the regular staff could not do.
As I understand it, in the 'hospice' hospital they do nothing to prolong your life, simply to keep you comfortable, pain free and let you die peacefully, whereas in a hospital they can prolong your dying.
Here is an excellent site that may help give you answers to your questions regarding Hospice.
Hope this helps!
Here is a link that might be useful: HospiceNet.org
Here in New Hampshire, in my county (Sullivan), my MIL qualified for hospice. She was 101 years old, we had promised to keep her with us until "the end". When she finally stopped eating solids, then stopped walking, she began to develop bed sores. we were freaked. All of a sudden we felt we couldn't handle the situation. We called her doctor. That same day the hospice nurse showed up. They were wonderful. She died almost a month later (this past Wednesday in fact 6/27/07) and the hospice nurse came to declare her death. I can't say enough good things about the hospice care we & she received during the month. Nurses and home health assistants were here 3 & 4 times a week. They were very encouraging and recognized what we wanted, which was a peaceful end to our "loved one's" long and happy life.
They were very straightforward as to what to expect, and as I said, very quick to say what a good job we had been doing.
So, although I never asked what exactly qualifies one for in-home hospice care, they could see that MIL was near the end and signed her up immediately.