How do we decide when a patient with nonmalignant disease is eligible for hospice care?
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Each hospice has its own policy, but Medicare requires 6 months or less life expectancy for certification of eligibility and reimbursement. Other important criteria include patient and family understanding and wishes. Evidence-based guidelines for determining prognosis in some noncancer diseases have been developed. However, despite their widespread use, limited data exist to support their accuracy (strength of recommendation: B). Moreover, a high degree of prognostic accuracy may be unattainable given the unpredictable course of common noncancer chronic diseases. Hospice eligibility for patients with nonmalignant disease is based on clinical judgment.
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