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Q: Is hospice just for cancer patients?

Posted January 23, 2013 in Advice Column

A: Often, when people think about those who could benefit from hospice services, they think of individuals living with end-stage cancer.  However, you might be surprised to learn that end-stage cancer diagnoses represent about one-third of the patients HCI Hospice Care Services cares for. Other common diagnoses served by hospice include end-stage heart disease, lung disease, Alzheimer’s disease as well as debility or failure to thrive. Anyone with a life-limiting diagnosis, cancer or otherwise, who is facing months or weeks of life can benefit from the comforting care that hospice provides.

So, how do you know if hospice care could benefit you or a loved one? It’s time to consider hospice if the disease or condition is steadily worsening and you’re ready to consider care options that focus on pain and symptom relief. Remember:  a call to hospice is not a commitment. A hospice nurse can meet with you and your family, answer your questions and assess your needs. Armed with all the facts, you and your family can have a better conversation about all your healthcare options and determine what’s right for you.

Common signs that it’s time to call HCI Hospice Care Services are if you or a loved one is eating less or losing weight, needing more help with daily activities, sleeping more, hurting from uncontrolled pain and other symptoms, making frequent trips to the hospital or experiencing difficulty breathing when at rest. If you’re seeing these signs, don’t wait — call today.

Information provided by Terry Terrones, RN, MSN, CHPN, HCI Care Services of South-Central Iowa, 103 E. Van Buren St., Centerville, (641) 856-5502,

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