Hospice Myth: Hospice Care Means Changing Your Attending Physician

Each month we set the facts straight regarding myths surrounding hospice care.

This month’s myth: Patients lose their relationship with their attending physician when they enter hospice care

When a patient enters hospice care, his or her medical care is not automatically transferred to a hospice medical director or a hospice physician. Rather, patients are still very much in control of whom is medically involved in their care.

While every hospice is required to designate one physician as the medical director to oversee the medical component of the hospice care program, all patients enrolled in the hospice program have an opportunity to choose their attending physician—a provider who will guide the work of the hospice interdisciplinary team. Allowing patients or their family members to choose the attending physician is extremely important in order to create a personalized plan of care.

The attending can be a physician, a certified registered nurse practitioner (C.R.N.P.) or a certified physician assistant (P.A.-C.). However, only a physician can sign a Certificate of Terminal Illness.

The attending provider will have the most significant role in the patient’s care. This person will be responsible for meeting the needs of the patient that are unrelated to the terminal illness. In collaboration with the hospice staff, he or she will be involved in establishing, reviewing and updating a patient’s plan of care. The attending also will be consulted regarding changes in the care plan and writing medication orders, and he or she will continue to certify that the patient remains eligible for hospice services. While hospice’s interdisciplinary team will provide daily care, the attending will remain highly involved in the patient’s overall care.

At Carroll Hospice, we understand the benefits of patients maintaining relationships with their long standing care providers. Please be assured that if you have built a strong relationship with your primary care provider, and you elect to enter hospice care, you can ensure he or she remains highly involved with your medical care as your attending physician.

Learn more about the care given by Carroll Hospice by calling 410-871-8000 or visiting our website.

 

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