Common Terminal Diagnoses

Common Terminal Diagnoses and Medical Criteria for Referral to Hospice Care

Common terminal conditions and the medical criteria indicative of advanced illness.
Patients are eligible for hospice only if all of the following conditions are satisfied.

Attending physician certifies that patient has a terminal condition with an expected life span of 6 months or less.

Patient decides to forego life prolonging therapies.

Patient does not have to be a DNR to be eligible for hospice. No home hospice can refuse to admit a patient just because s/he opts to remain a “full code”.

However, this could be a red flag regarding disagreement regarding the focus of hospice as being on symptom management as opposed to curative disease modifying treatment. This should be carefully discussed and documented. However, as an example, patients with advance Congestive Heart Failure should remain on their ACE inhibitor and diuretics as tolerated as these treatments are certainly palliative and help control symptoms while at the same time they may be life prolonging.

Diagnoses include:

  • Advanced End Stage Senescence or Debility
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Liver Disease
  • Pulmonary Disease
  • Dementia
  • Adult Failure to Thrive
  • HIV
  • Cancer
  • Stroke and Coma
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