Making decisions around end of life care and when to begin hospice is never easy. It’s usually a stressful and emotional time for all those who are involved, especially if there are any complications. Here are a few things that might be helpful if you’re a caregiver for someone nearing the end of their life.

Advance Directive

One of the first things you should do is make sure they have an advance directive. This is a document that outlines what kind of care a person wants if they can’t articulate it for themselves at the time care is needed. This way you don’t need to make critical decisions in an emergency situation.

Know Your Benefits

Sometimes a person’s hospice benefit period expires while they still need medical care. If this happens they will need to get recertified. You can learn more about this online at

Recertification Requirements

Hospice recertification criteria include the following:

  • Description of the person’s life expectancy that’s signed by a physician
  • Signed and dated physician’s statement
  • Benefit period
  • Written clinical explanation of why life expectancy is six months or less (must have occurred after an in-person meeting)
  • Certification and the benefit periods need to be signed and dated by the hospice Medical Director or physician

Hospice is stressful enough without complications, ensuring you take care of these things beforehand will help you when you need it the most.