It’s highly unusual for hospice patients to “recover.” The diseases that prompt people to come into hospice in the first place are conditions that by definition are not curable.
However, it’s not uncommon for patients to experience stabilization of their condition—and they no longer qualify for hospice services.
Patients with chronic, progressive diseases such as Alzheimer’s, congestive heart failure, or chronic lung disease may be expected to survive only months. However, with the addition of hospice services and control of problematic symptoms, their trajectory may improve to the point they’re no longer “hospice appropriate.”
The term “hospice graduate” sounds odd. How can one “graduate” from hospice?
Hospice graduates are patients whose conditions have improved to the point where they no longer require hospice for the time being. There are a variety of reasons why a patient’s health may get better, from receiving the appropriate medication to maintaining a balanced diet that helps with their condition.
Typically these patients receive home health services, as well as ongoing management by the patient’s primary medical team.
Hospice is NOT limited to six months
What happens if more than six months have passed and the patient is still living? In this case, the patient will typically undergo another evaluation to determine whether they still qualify for hospice care. Some patients may have their time extended for another six months.
Others, however, may “graduate” from hospice, no longer qualifying for care due to an improvement in health or because the patient has chosen to stop receiving it or to pursue curative treatment. Graduating from hospice is also referred to as a “live discharge.”
Sometimes life expectancy increases
It’s important to understand that not all patients who are discharged from CHP Hospice are hospice graduates. The term “hospice graduate” specifically refers to when a patient is released from hospice because their life expectancy has increased.
Other factors contribute to people leaving hospice alive. These include switching to another hospice agency, patient preference, starting curative treatment and losing hospice eligibility, or moving to an inpatient facility.
The CHP Hospice team is highly qualified and prepared to assist you and your family when a loved one needs care. Please call us with any questions and be sure to let the doctor or hospital know that CHP Home Care & Hospice is your preferred home health and hospice provider.