Hospice care is a concept in medical care designed to give palliative rather than curative treatment to a patient. This means the treatment is based on alleviating the person's symptoms rather than their overall disease and on improving the quality rather than the duration of their life.
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Various hospice centres in different areas may have different criteria for bringing a patient into hospice care, but there are three general rules to begin the process. The patient must be classified as terminally ill by a doctor. In this context, terminally ill means it is estimated the patient has six months or less to live. It can also apply to Alzheimer's patients in the final stages of that disease.
Hospice patients are usually only admitted when they have decided, alongside their doctor and loved ones, not to seek any further "aggressive or curative diagnostics or therapies." Similarly, the patient must be aware of this and consent to hospice care to be admitted.
Hospice care usually is assigned over two 90-day periods. Patients who go into hospice care and experience a turnaround are allowed to leave if they choose to and are encouraged to reapply if their condition returns or worsens.
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