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My husband sleeps about 16 hours a day, and dozes when he is up in his chair. He still has a fairly good appetite and isn't in any pain. He has a history of stroke, cancer and kidney failure.

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Thank you for all your answers. You have been very helpful.
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You do not need to be referred to hospice by the primary care physician. You can call for an evaluation yourself. But in general if you are uncertain I think a frank discussion with the pcp or a specialist who is seeing your husband would be a good first step.

While no one can accurately predict the exact life expectancy of an individual, for hospice the condition of a patient should be such that most people in that condition would not live more than six months. This is especially hard to conclude for people with dementia, but may be less challenging in your husband's case.

My husband had a good appetite until a few weeks before he died, and ate a good breakfast the day of his death. Pain was not an issue throughout his disease. Sleeping more and more is typically a sign of nearing end-of-life. Each individual situation must be assessed on its own merits. One size does not fit all.

My sisters and I were urged by the hospital to enroll Mother in a hospice program last week. After lots of anguish, we did. As a woman over 90, with dementia, who has just broken her hip, she is in the demographic group of people who often die within 6 months. She may die next month or live for years. We don't know. But I am glad she is getting the extra attention and care that hospice provides.

My husband's pcp offered to sign off on hospice need when we were ready. (I think his doctors could not figure out how he was living so long with Lewy Body Dementia) and he lived five weeks after enrolling. I am VERY grateful for their help through that difficult period.

If you search for Hospice in the box in the top right and then narrow the search to articles you will find very helpful information. One theme that is repeated is that most people don't take full advantage of the hospice program. We tend to delay getting them involved.

Personally, I think it better to inquire too soon and be told you'll need to wait a while, than to delay it and miss out on benefits that could have improved the experience.
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You can call hospice first and they will come to your home and do an evaluation. If your husband meets the criteria for the program then hospice will contact your husband physician for the order. Even if they determine that he is not quite ready, you will be familiar with the program and benefits. It will lessen your anxiety when the time comes. Best wishes!
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When my dad began going downhill we were the ones who called hospice. They came right over.
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Based on infolongtermcare.org, there are factors that determine when a person is eligible for hospice program, first, the person's condition is considered fatal and incurable,second, the doctor (usually the primary doctor) should indicate that the person's life expectancy is less than 6 months. Based on your description, I think your husband does not need hospice yet, but you can speak with his doctor to know which available long-term care setting will fit his needs. His primary doctor will be in the best position to provide you with advice if he needs to be in a long-term care facility or not.
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It's actually the MD who orders a Hospice evaluation, not you. So call the MD and ask if it is time. He may not make the referral, but adjust medications.
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In this situation with his history, his doctor would be the best to ask when it would be time for hospice. It would be good for the doctor to know about his sleeping 16 hours per day. You would not want any sign to go unchecked by the physician. Take care.
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