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Are there disagreements about when hospice care is necessary?

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2024 | Health Law Attorneys

In some cases, it becomes very clear to family members that they need to move their elderly loved one into a hospice center. The person’s condition has begun to decline, and it doesn’t appear that they will make a recovery. What is best for them is often to get end-of-life care that is focused more on making them comfortable and meeting their immediate needs.

However, there are many situations in which disputes can arise, sometimes involving family members, hospitals or medical centers, and the hospice centers themselves. All parties may not agree on when that type of care is necessary. Why does this happen?

The long-term prognosis

Often, the conflict is just that family members do not agree with a doctor’s long-term prognosis regarding the patient’s chances of recovery. Family members may believe that their loved one is likely to recover, while medical professionals may say that the odds are heavily against them and that it’s time to shift the focus of the care they are receiving. For instance, one woman didn’t want to remove her daughter from a ventilator, even though the hospital staff thought the daughter needed to move into hospice care. 

This helps to show how delicate the situation can be. It is important to take family members’ emotions and perspectives into account. At the same time, medical professionals need to make the best judgment calls regarding that person’s healthcare needs as they approach the end of their life.

If you own or operate a hospice center, be prepared for these types of conflicts and be sure you understand exactly what steps to take when they arise.