"Why didn't we call Hospice earlier?" Most hospice professionals will tell you this is one of the most frequently heard comments from families they serve.
Predicting the amount of time left for a patient with a life-limiting illness is difficult in the best situations. No two people respond exactly the same way to medical treatments or the illness itself. Physicians cannot be expected to predict a patient's exact life expectancy.
However, as many of the nation's 3,200 hospice organizations will tell you, far too many Americans are unaware of the option of hospice when they are facing a serious illness. Including patients and families in discussions about the full scope of their illness and the range of available options is critical if people are to make informed decisions about their health care.