Too Soon for Hospice

 Accepting the fact that a loved one is about to leave us physically is one of the hardest tasks a family faces. Which makes it altogether understandable that they’re hesitant about calling for hospice care. Actually, the presence of the right hospice team can make the precious time remaining much more comfortable for the patient and more rewarding to all who care.

How can a family know when the time is right? 

Having worked with patients and those who love them for more than 35 years, we at The Denver Hospice suggest they start with four questions:

  1. Has the patient’s weight declined by five pounds or more in the last 30 days or 10 pounds in the last 180 days?
  2. Is comfort the patient’s goal now, as opposed to curative measures and treatment?
  3. Does the patient require increased care support to be able to remain in the current living environment?
  4. Would the patient, family and/or caregivers benefit from experienced support given the decline in health or change in care?

Even one yes suggests that the individual is likely eligible for hospice care.

Having dealt with these factors, the next step is to consider how the right hospice can enhance the experience in a way that honors the unique nature of this person, this family.

All hospices care for the body. Our commitment at The Denver Hospice is to care for body, mind and spirit, providing the best in medical care and integrating special therapies to care for the whole person. Our therapists use musical instruments, voice, art, animals, essential oils, their hearts and hands to expand the way we care for our patients and their loved ones.

Along with known benefits—lessening of depression, pain relief, reduced anxiety and more—these integrative therapies often yield unexpected rewards. Insights gained through art have helped families heal rifts and release old hurts. Music thanatology—the use of music specifically to help with the individual’s transition—often provides immense release and support to families and friends.

So, when is the time right for hospice? It is the moment you and your family want something more—more expertise, more comfort, more support—to maximize the time remaining and make the days beyond easier.


Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by The Denver Hospice and may be reached at 303-321-2828 or by email at