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Many people live longer than 6 months when they are on hospice and some even improve enough to temporarily go off the program. It's never too early to investigate.
Carol
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To be eligible for hospice a person must be in the final stage of their disease and in the opinion of a doctor be within 6 months of death. That is more difficult to determine in some diseases than others, and no doctor can predict a future death date accurately. The person must be willing to give up any attempts at curing the disease and instead accept medicines and procedures for pain relief and comfort.
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In Michigan at least, a terminal illness is not a necessary diagnosis to get hospice care. My mother is 97 living in an assisted living facility. She has dementia and she can no longer walk or even stand by herself, and she needs assistance with almost all of her daily activities (she can still feed herself). She has been under hospice care for six months because of her steady decline. She is evaluated every 60 days, and if she continues to decline, the hospice care will continue. It is paid for by Medicare. Keeping her comfortable and safe is their main focus. The nursing home may be able to give you more information about how it works in your state.
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Call the Hospice of your choice and ask that your Mom be evaluated to determine if she is eligible.
the call will cost you nothing and the evaluation will cost you nothing.

She will be asked to discontinue any aggressive treatment that she is doing. (If any)
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tvidos, if a person is seriously ill, they will pass on the same timetable whether they use Hospice or not. Usually if a person passing within a couple of days of Hospice, that means they were placed on Hospice very late in the timetable.

There are NOT excessive dosages of morphine given to a patient. Morphine is between 5 to 20 mg. To cause a person to die quickly, morphine would be 200mg or higher. No doctors would order such an extreme dosage.

And there are times when a person "graduates" from Hospice, thus is taken off and continues to live for many more months or years.
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When a doctor signs a piece of paper stating the person's expectations of living past six months are nil.
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tvidos, your dad and uncle were ready to go. No one gave them 'excessive morphine' to hurry them along, they were ready to pass on. (And even so, it's not like they had rich, full lives ahead of them, they had one foot in the grave and the other hovering on the edge.) Be GLAD they passed, peacefully. They were never going to get better. When your time is up, a good peaceful death is a blessed thing.
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JoAnn, 6 months is a guess at best. It's not a time limit. It helps Hospice Care with their paperwork, that's all. If your loved one goes into Hospice, that doesn't mean they "have to die" in 6 months.
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@Jazzy2...Please do not consider Morphine as "the last drug" It sort of implies that when you say you will not give it to him until it is the very end.
Morphine can be a great drug to allow someone to relax enough so that they can breathe.
Morphine is great when you have tried other medications to relieve pain and none of them work as well as you hope. Morphine along with other drugs can relieve pain so that one can have a more pain free day and night.
Morphine is not a "killing" drug that you give when the end is near.
Yes it is given as a last drug mainly because at that point many people have stopped taking anything by mouth. Hospice does not do IV for fluids. (not good to give fluids after one discontinues taking anything by mouth anyway but that is another topic.)
Typically the doses start low and are gradually increased to relieve pain and allow one to relax so that breathing is easier and so movement is easier. (I could not believe how easy it was for me to move my Husbands arm after a very low dose of morphine. I had not been able to move his arm without it causing him discomfort in at least 1 year.)
So do not be afraid to use Morphine if it is necessary. If you are unsure how your husband will react have the Hospice Nurse give him his first small dose so you can both see how well he tolerates it and what his reaction is.
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It's really a clinical decision. When I first moved mom into assisted living her vitals were so bad, they thought she was going to stroke out. After months of hospice here medications were adjusted so that she no longer qualified for hospice. That was four years ago. She's declining again, but from dementia, this time.
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