Hospice and Congestive Heart Failure: Understanding Guidelines for Eligibility
by Jennifer Brooks
If you or a loved one lives with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) you know that managing the disease can be a daily struggle. Fluid retention, swelling, shortness of breath and anxiety are all common symptoms of CHF. As the disease progresses, patients frequently find themselves in the emergency room or being re-admitted to the hospital because of these symptoms .
This cycle is frustrating and exhausting. It robs patients of precious time they could be spending with friends and family. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 5.8 million people are currently living with CHF. Each year another 700,000 people are diagnosed with it.
Halcyon Hospice offers a CHF Program that can help.
Our customized CHF Plan of Care is designed to help reduce Return to Hospital Visits and increase the patient’s ability to have control by expanding the patient’s and primary care giver’s knowledge base about the disease process. The interdisciplinary team approach used here at Halcyon Hospice can help to manage both the symptoms and pain caused by end-stage congestive heart failure and offer support for caregivers that are doing their best to assist with managing their loved one’s illness .
In order to qualify for hospice a patient is expected to live six months or less if the disease follows its normal course. For CHF patients, however, there is often confusion and a lack of understanding about when to refer a patient to hospice. That uncertainty stems from not knowing what symptoms a patient should be exhibiting to be considered eligible.
“Hospice is a valuable, often overlooked service for CHF patients. It improves quality of life for the patient and offers peace of mind for their family,” explains Halcyon Hospice’s Dr. Bryan Hooker.
To assist in shining the light on the benefits of hospice for those living with end stage CHF, we thought it would be helpful to share the common symptoms that may qualify a patient for hospice.
- O2 saturation ≤ 88%
- History of cardiac arrest
- Angina or chest pain
- Symptomatic arrhythmias
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Comorbidities such as lung disease, dementia or kidney disease
- Ejection fraction <25%
To determine if you or your loved one may be eligible for hospice, talk with your physician. If you are a Georgia caregiver, you may call us directly at (855) 328.1700. We will be happy to set up a time to meet with you in person.
We also have a helpful CHF Guide you can download to share with your loved one’s health care team or other family members.