Benefits of Early Referrals, by Pat McGuinness

"I wish we had been referred to hospice sooner." It's a sentiment that hospice providers hear often and is indicative of the need for greater understanding of what hospice care offers a patient and their family members. The good news is that more patients and their families are becoming aware of the enormous hospice benefit for end-of-life care. Despite this trend, most are not aware of the numerous benefits of early referral. This reality is born out in a number of valid and reputable studies that report the average length of hospice stays to be declining.

While experts in hospice care agree that patients need to be enrolled for at least 60 days to reap the greatest benefit possible, the nationwide median length of stay for hospice patients is a mere 20.9 days with many of those served staying on service little more than a few days. Yet, by providing the option of hospice care sooner, physicians can continue to make a positive change in the lives of their patients by helping them to maximize their quality of life.

As some of the most ardent supporters know, hospice is a positive that aggressively seeks to provide freedom from pain and comfort care that addresses associated symptoms of a patient's illness. By understanding and accepting that death is part of the life cycle, Redmond-Sisters Hospice is helping patients and their families enjoy a better quality of life until the end of life.