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.
Journal of Family Practice, 55(6) 2006: 525+.