As a healthcare provider, understanding when and if a patient who has suffered a severe stroke is eligible for hospice care may be difficult to determine. But families are no doubt asking you a lot of questions about their loved one’s prognosis. Will they recover? How long will it take? Is it time for hospice? Part of the trouble in making the determination is because a person who has suffered a stroke may be debilitated but not dying.
But those patients who survive the initial stroke may die later from complications such as a pulmonary embolism, a chest infection or aspiration pneumonia. There are two primary criteria categories that may help you make the determination. One is for patients in the acute phase of a stroke and one is for those in a chronic phase.
The patient has suffered an acute phase of hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke AND one of the following is present:
- Coma or persistent vegetative state, beyond a three-day duration, secondary to stroke
- Dysphagia which prevents sufficient intake of foods/fluids to sustain life in a patient who does not receive artificial hydration or nutrition
- Post anoxic stroke—coma or severe obtundation
The patient is in a chronic phase of hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke AND one of the following must be present:
- Post stroke dementia
- Unable to dress, ambulate, bathe, or use bathroom without assistance
- No consistent, meaningful communication. Ability to speak is limited to six words or less
If you are a Georgia-based health care professional and have a patient or family who is trying to understand stroke and the support hospice can offer, we encourage you to download our “Improving Quality of Life for Stroke Patients” PDF. It contains information on hospice and stroke – including eligibility and Medicare.