How long is the average person on hospice?

How long is the average person on hospice

Many people unfamiliar with hospice care in MelodiaCare are curious about the average life expectancy of hospice patients. The life expectancy of a hospice patient is highly variable. Doctors continue to make estimates regarding a patient’s expected lifespan. Every day that our patients are in our care at MelodiaCare, we give them loving, compassionate care.

How Long Do Hospice Patients Reside?

To enter hospice care, a patient must receive a physician referral. Patients are accepted into hospice only if their predicted life expectancy is fewer than six months. Hospice is designed to be a brief period of end-of-life care. End Of Life Care In San Francisco East Bay, California, Medicare covers hospice care, and it is this government agency that established the six-month time limit. We may propose home care or a long-term care facility in MelodiaCare for terminally sick patients who are projected to live longer than six months.

According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 90% of hospice patients die within six months of entering hospice. If a patient has been in hospice for six months and their doctor believes they will not survive another six months, they may renew their hospice stay.

On rare occasions, patients achieve remission or improve sufficiently to be discharged from hospice and returned to their homes or supported living facilities.

What Factors Affect the Life Expectancy of Hospice Patients?

  • According to the National Institutes of Health, five major factors influence how long a hospice patient lives.
  • Patients younger than 65 die less frequently within six months.
  • Men are more likely than women to die within six months.
  • The Palliative Performance Scale assesses patients’ ambulation and ability to care for themselves. A higher score indicates a greater possibility of being eligible for hospice care and a greater likelihood of dying sooner.
  • Patients admitted to hospice from a hospital had the highest chance of dying within six months. Those admitted from their homes are the second most likely to die within six months, followed by those hospitalised from nursing homes.
  • Cancer patients are more likely to die within six months after diagnosis than patients diagnosed with other diseases or disorders.

Gender appears to play a role, with men somewhat more likely than women to die within six months, at 88.4 versus 85.1%. The cause for admission to hospice is also significant, with patients who have dementia or a stroke typically having a lower overall mortality rate than those with other diseases.

Meanwhile, according to a survey from Trella Health, hospice patients’ average length of stay increased by 5% to 77.9 days in 2018, up from 74.5 days in 2017. Positive news for patients because many people’s time in hospice is not long enough to gain all of the hospice’s advantages. In surveys performed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, many families regret that their loved ones did not attend hospice sooner.

Six months is the maximum time frame for hospice eligibility. In other words, patients aren’t anticipated to live past the six-month mark. However, many patients do survive through this time frame and may be eligible for extra hospice care or discharged from the hospital at this point.

How Are Hospice Patients Discharged?

If a patient’s health improves to the point where treatment may be resumed, or their life expectancy increases to more than six months, they lose eligibility for hospice care.

Apart from their health deteriorating to the point that it is no longer terminal, there are various other reasons for a patient to be freed from hospice. For instance, a patient may withdraw from hospice care for any cause. It is critical to understand that when a patient opts out of hospice care, they forfeit all benefits associated with the Medicare Hospice Benefit, including home medical equipment and supplies, home visits, and therapeutic or holistic services.

Additionally, there may be instances where a patient moves out of the hospice’s service region or requires transfer to another hospice. Rarely a patient may be discharged due to disruptive, uncooperative, or abusive behaviour, which inhibits the hospice’s ability to care for the patient or operate successfully. Patients do have an appeals process for hospice discharges.

When patients are discharged from hospice, and their health worsens, they may be readmitted.


We hope this information aids in your knowledge of hospice care. While it is intended to be a terminal treatment, the length of a patient’s stay varies according to their situation and overall health. Finally, the length of their stay is irrelevant, as hospice care facilities are dedicated to making patients’ lives as comfortable as possible.

Considering hospice care choices, MelodiaCare Hospice is your best bet. Our skilled clinicians and therapists are more than capable of providing your loved ones with the finest quality home-based patient care centred on fundamental regard for human dignity. Contact us today for additional information about our services!

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