Conversation Starters

Making a referral is easy:

Phone | (607) 432-5525
Fax | (607) 431-2351
Hours | 24/7
Online form available.

Triggers for a Hospice Referral

  • End-stage chronic progressive disease
  • Frequent ER visits and/or hospitalizations
  • Decreasing appetite resulting in weight loss
  • Frequent infections or non-healing wounds
  • Decreasing ambulation, functional capacity, ability to perform activities of daily living
  • Multiple co-morbidities

Triggers for a Palliative Care Referral

  • Any above qualifiers that indicate hospice appropriateness
  • Patient is continuing aggressive curative therapies
  • Psychosocial/spiritual/family issues causing distress

Call for a free evaluation today

Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care staff are available to meet with, evaluate, and educate patients and families who you believe are eligible for Hospice and Palliative Care services. If, during this evaluation, your patient chooses hospice care and you approve of this decision, admission to the program can start right away. You, your patient and family members are always free to gather information about options without obligation.

Hospice team members understand the hesitancy of bringing up the idea that it might be time for hospice care. Our professionals can assist with or provide guidance in having this difficult conversation.

If you would like more information about the hospice referral process, or wish to speak directly to a hospice professional about your needs and how hospice may be able to support you and your patients, please contact our Access Team at:

(607) 432-5525
or email:

Hospice: Myths and Reality

Myth Reality
Patients die quickly on hospice
  • Studies show that hospice patients actually live longer, especially those with certain illnesses such as heart failure
  • The average Catskill Area Hospice patient dies in 2-3 months, but 60% die within 3-4 weeks
  • Hospice eligibility considers a 6 month prognosis
  • Many patients are referred during the dying process
  • Patients and families have a very high satisfation with hospice
  • Patients and families regularly wish they had been referred sooner
Myth Reality
Patients need a DNR to be on Hospice
  • Hospice does not require DNR or an AICD (Implanted Cardioverter/Defibrillator) inactivation
Myth Reality
Hospice refuses patients on radiation, chemotherapy, or advanced therapies
  • Radiation/Chemotherapy may be part of a Hospice plan of care if the focus is in palliation/symptom management
  • Inotropic therapies for advanced cardiopulmonary disease, enteral feedings, IV fluids and TPN at times may be included in the Hospice plan of care
  • The Hospice Medical Director will assist in discussion and determination of plan of care in relation to these therapies
Myth Reality
Hospice is a philosophy of care
  • Hospice is a philosophy of care emphasizing palliation of symptoms and addressing a comprehensive range of issues without additional cost to the patient
  • 24/7 Availability
  • At least weekly visits by a nurse
  • MD home visits as needed
  • LPN and homemaker assistance
  • Social work
  • Volunteer services
  • Spiritual counseling
  • Medications related to the Hospice diagnosis
  • DME and oxygen
  • Physical, Occupational and Speech therapy
  • Other complementary therapies
  • Dietitian services
  • Bereavement services for 13 months after death
Myth Reality
Physicians lose track of their patients
  • Physicians retain responsibility for and direct the care of their patients
  • The Hospice Medical Director can assist if the attending physician is unavailable to provide care
Myth Reality
Providers get too many calls and too much paperwork on Hospice patients
  • Providing excellent in-home care at the end of life does require significant physician input and contact
  • The medical directors can assist, if necessary
Myth Reality
Physicians will be disciplined if they inaccurately state a six month prognosis
  • Eligibility is defined as a six month prognosis if the disease runs its natural course in the medical judgement of the attending physician and the Medical Director
  • Prognostication is an inexact art
  • Physicians typically are extremely optimistic about prognosis at the end of life, including those skilled in the management of terminal patients
  • The Attending Physician is at no risk for stating his/her medical judgement and the Hospice Medical Director must concur with this assessment
  • The Hospice Medical Director is responsible for determining prognosis following the initial six month period, and the patient may remain on Hospice indefinitely if he still is eligible
  • If a patient stabilizes, improves, or is no longer eligible, they can be discharged from Hospice
Myth Reality
Only cancer patients are eligible for Hospice
  • Hospice is appropriate for any patient with a life-limiting disease and should be considered for patients with repeated hospitalizations or emergency room visits, declining performance, increasing dependence in ADLs, poor quality of life, or unexplained weight loss
Myth Reality
Hospice patients hurt a Hospital's performance
  • Hospice patients are not counted for mortality statistics on, nor is readmission counted
  • Hospitals can actually improve their scores by referring patients with heart failure, COPD, etc
  • Hospice patients are not managed under a DRG
  • Hospice patients save resources and have a lower cost than non-Hospice patients
  • Hospice patients receive better symptom management and better comprehensive care at the end of life than non- Hospice patients

*** If you have a patient with a life-limiting disease who has progressed, or is requiring frequent visits or admissions, or has declining performance or independence, or has poor quality of life, or if you would not be surprised if the patient would die within six months, consider a referral to Hospice.
*** You can call and have an admissions nurse meet with and evaluate your patient and their family, educate them about Hospice, and if your patient chooses the Hospice benefit and you concur, your patient can be admitted promptly.
*** We are the only accredited organization with Otsego, Delaware, and Schoharie Counties providing these services, have done so for over 30 years, and we are committed to excellent and compassionate care.

Learn more about hospice referral: