COPD Hospice Eligibility Criteria.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a term used to describe several progressive lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. COPD affects an estimated 30 million individuals in the United States and is the third leading cause of death.

COPD begins slowly. Many individuals with early symptoms of COPD dismiss the increasing breathlessness as a normal part of getting older. In later stages, the increasing symptoms of COPD including shortness of breath, coughing, respiratory infections, wheezing and fatigue can severely limit daily activities. There is no cure for COPD, but the symptoms can be managed to slow the progression of the disease and provide a higher quality of life.

The slow decline of COPD often has patients unsure of when they meet COPD hospice requirements. In addition to general eligibility, we consider the following factors in hospice eligibility for COPD patients.

Hospice criteria for COPD:

  • Recent visits to the ER or hospitalization for pulmonary infections or respiratory failure
  • Dyspnea or tightness in the chest (FEV1 <30% of predicted)
  • Identification of specific structural/functional impairments
  • Relevant activity limitations
  • Changes in appetite and unintentional progressive weight loss
  • Impaired sleep functions
  • Decline in general physical endurance
  • Impaired mobility
  • Requires oxygen some of the time or all of the time
  • May require breathing treatments or use of inhalers
  • May have difficult eating or carrying on conversations without become short of breath

When an individual begins to experience one or more of the above criteria, it may be time to bring on the additional support of hospice care.

COPD & other pulmonary disease symptom management.

Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care provides an added level of support for patients and their families in managing symptoms and personal care. Our team is available to answer questions and provide support 24 hours a day to help control patient symptoms at home, avoiding late night visits to the emergency room and avoidable hospital admissions.

For primary care physicians.

Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care is your partner in providing support to patients with end-stage COPD. We are available 365 days a year – and are always ready to admit new patients and respond to worsening symptoms. Our team of pain and symptom management experts work with the primary care physician to make the hospice transition as easy as possible for the patient and the patient’s family. Additionally, hospice care is provided wherever the patient is most comfortable, including their own home, or an assisted-living facility.

However, if your COPD patient does not meet the hospice eligibility requirements, consider palliative care. The Crossroads hospice palliative team is trained to manage COPD symptoms and flare-ups in the home, helping avoid hospital admissions and late night trips to the ER. We provide primary care physicians with an extra set of eyes and ears, working hand-in-hand with physicians and supporting them anyway we can.

When to call hospice.

Due to the slow progression of COPD, it can be difficult for family members to determine when a patient becomes eligible for hospice care.

We recommend starting the conversation regarding hospice care as early as possible. This way, you will have time to explore all available care options before a crisis occurs. Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care can also provide additional information on next steps for the patient and their family. Crossroads Hospice can help by assessing the patient 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

If you or someone you know is experiencing worsening COPD symptoms, please contact us at 1-888-564-3405 to arrange a Crossroads Hospice consultation.

When is it time to call hospice? Download a free guide now.