As soon as a patient and family decide to stop curative care, they can be referred to hospice. If your physician has referred you, the NorthBay Hospice director will call to set up a visit. If you are self-referring, services will begin as soon as you’re certified eligible.
If you’re not sure hospice is the best path for you or a loved one, a consultation will answer any questions. Patients and their families are sometimes reluctant to start services because they see that as giving up. But in fact, beginning hospice care before the very end of a terminal illness gives patients and their loved ones a greater sense of peace as the hospice team is able to help with the transition. We want to make the last months of life as full and comfortable as possible for the patient and their family.
A referral to hospice care does not always mean death is imminent. With attentive care, comfort and peace of mind that comes with addressing end-of-life decisions, some patients rebound physically as well as mentally. Hospice care can be temporarily or permanently discontinued and curative measures reinstated if a patient improves.
If you don’t fit the criteria for hospice and you’re coping with a serious, life-threatening illness that is limiting your ability to function on a daily basis or preventing you from doing the things you enjoy, consider palliative care. In addition to better symptom management, benefits may include a better understanding of your illness and its progression, and may help you avoid frequent, costly hospital stays and emergency room visits. Palliative care can be initiated at any stage of a serious chronic or progressive illness. Unlike hospice care, NorthBay Bridges palliative care is not limited to those considered to be terminally ill.