Approximately 16 million Americans have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and millions more have it but have not yet been diagnosed.
If you or a loved one has COPD, you may be wondering about the hospice guidelines for COPD and when hospice care is necessary.
We’ve got the answers along with more information about the stages of COPD and what it means to have hospice care.
Hospice Clinical Eligibility: End-Stage COPD and Other Forms of Lung Disease
1. Evidence of extensive and progressive pulmonary (lung) disease including:
- Extensive hospitalizations
- ER Visits
- Repeated cases of bronchitis, pneumonia and other lung infections
- An unintended weight loss of around 10 percent of the body weight over the last six months
- Changes in appetite
2. Consistent dyspnea (shortness of breath) at rest even with minimal exertion and oxygen therapy.
This also results in a decline in mobility and physical endurance.
3. Dyspnea that does not respond to medication or bronchodilator therapy.
This type of therapy uses medications to widen the bronchial airways.
4. Continuous, progressive inability to perform everyday tasks of living, such as bathing or eating.
In addition, many hospice-eligible COPD patients have difficulty carrying on conversations without becoming extremely short of breath.
5. Requires oxygen use for the majority of the time or all the time
Often, this is coupled with a decline in physical endurance.
6. The patient has a life expectancy of six months or less.
While these are general guidelines for COPD hospice eligibility, your physician or hospice provider will be able to provide an accurate account of how well you or your loved one meets these criteria.
What is the Stage 4 COPD Life Expectancy?
It’s difficult to determine an exact time for life expectancy because there are so many factors to be considered. Your physician will help you determine this.
However, in general, of those who have end-stage COPD, only half will be alive in two years.
Many make the mistake by believing hospice is only care for the last weeks in life. In actuality, patients should come to us when they have a life expectancy of six months or less. Through hospice care, we can help improve quality of life by managing symptoms, offer pain relief, and also provide emotional and spiritual support.
Hospice supports the entire family by providing much-needed education information, and access to grief care.
How Does Hospice Care Help with COPD?
This care is designed to help those who are frequently breathless even with minimal amounts of exertion.
Your hospice care team will design a plan of care that helps manage symptoms and puts your goals first. Care teams are comprised of a physician, nurse, hospice aide, social worker, chaplain, and volunteer(s).
If you or your loved one is receiving hospice care, nurses make regular visits and will always be available by phone 24/7.
Hospice care is provided wherever you call home: private residence, assisted living or skilled nursing facility, or even a hospital. When pain and symptoms cannot be managed in a residential setting, we are the only area provider that offers inpatient hospice care centers that are available exclusively to our patients and families.
Not sure of your COPD hospice eligibility? You can contact us to speak with someone today who will answer all your questions. Simply call 800-733-1476.
End Stage COPD and Hospice: End Stage COPD Symptoms
Hospice is the right choice for those who have end stage COPD. Symptoms of end-stage COPD include:
- Extreme shortness of breath, even when restingMedications losing their effectiveness
- Exhaustion and breathlessness after everyday tasks
- Chronic cough
- Crackling sounds when inhaling
- Weight loss
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Consistent wheezing
Hospice will be able to provide symptom management for those with COPD.
Lower Cape Fear LifeCare: Providing Comfort Care for Those with End-Stage COPD
A serious illness affects more than the patient—that’s why we care for the entire family. Through grief counseling and support groups, we care for the patient and the ones they love.
For decades, we’ve been the leading nonprofit hospice in Southeastern North Carolina, Columbus County, Horry County and Northeastern South Carolina.
Did you know that you can refer anyone to hospice? You can even refer yourself! All you have to do is complete our referral form.
Discover the quality, compassionate care of Lower Cape Fear LifeCare.