Hospice From A Healthcare Perspective

There comes a time when giving a patients a better quality of life becomes the priority.  A patient with a prognosis of 6 months or less and who will not receive curative treatment can be referred to Hospice of Holland for end-of-life care. There is often a misconception that hospice care is designed for late term oncology patients, but in fact that is one of many life-limiting illnesses and conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Advanced Dementia- difficulty swallowing, inability to speak, dress, or feed self, loss of bowel and bladder control, progressive weight loss

  • Failure to Thrive – multiple organ failure, multiple ER visits, unintentional weight loss (10% in 6 months), decline in health

  • AIDS – increasing infections, self-care deficits, continued weight loss/weakness, medication no longer effective

  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) – impaired swallowing/breathing, self-care deficits, muscle wasting rigidity, progressive weight loss

  • Congestive Heart Failure- severe fatigue, dyspnea at rest, chronic fluid buildup, frequent hospitalizations

  • Respiratory/pulmonary disease (end stage) – disabling dyspnea, poor control of symptoms, O2 dependent, frequent hospitalizations

  • Stroke – irreversible damage, coma or persistent vegetative state, inability to swallow, requires total care

  • Cancer

How To Refer Your Patient

The patient’s family may consult with the patient’s physician before making a decision. Also, a friend, clergy or even a next-door neighbor may initiate a call to Hospice of Holland. Before actual admission, however, the patient’s physician must certify that the patient is medically appropriate for hospice care. Hospice will contact the physician to obtain this verification, if the patient desires Hospice of Holland care.

The earlier a patient is referred, the more Hospice can help. Sadly, many people believe that hospice care is unavailable or inappropriate until the patient is confined to the home or bed. A great deal can be done, however, many months earlier to improve quality of life. Hospice can provide:

  • Expert pain and symptom management

  • Emotional and spiritual support to patient and loved ones

  • Help in how to talk about the many difficult issues that arise at end-of-life

  • Help in dealing with unresolved issues that block communication

  • Support for the caregiver

Early referrals improve the quality of the patient’s life. If there is no advanced directive, the patient often has the opportunity to express his or her wishes, relieving friends or family members of having to make those difficult decisions.

Families who have experienced Hospice of Holland care typically express a similar regret: “We wish we would have called hospice sooner.”

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Hospice of Holland is a non-denominational organization addressing the spiritual care needs of all patients and family.


Hospice of Holland is here to help you determine if this is the right time for hospice care, to get any necessary referrals, or to start the admission process. Call 616.396.2972 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and ask for the admissions department; after-hours calls will be routed to the on-call nurse. You can also send us an email.

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Contact Hospice of Holland regarding our services, and how they will help you and a loved one. No obligation.