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When Patients “Graduate”

People are often surprised to learn that, for some patients, conditions actually improve while under hospice care. At Hospice East Bay, we say that these patients “graduate” from hospice.

Some patients come to us after experiencing a medical crisis where the outcome is uncertain. Their condition is fragile, so it is just as likely that they might die in six months or less as it is that they will get better. For some, with our compassionate care, their condition improves to the point where they no longer qualify for hospice.

Some patients come to us with ongoing conditions where it appears they might be declining. For example, some have lost weight for no apparent reason, or some can no longer walk on their own. While those might be evidence of a decline, they could also simply mean the patient has reached a new plateau, a level at which they could live for months and even years.

Some patients were living on their own and not taking very good care of themselves, so their health was compromised. With the help of the hospice team, a caregiving plan is put into place, and patients get stronger.

For most patients, learning they will “graduate” comes as welcome news. For some, they know they will miss the extra support hospice provides. That’s one reason we started Palliative Care East Bay. All patients who graduate from Hospice East Bay are offered the services of our palliative care branch so they will have ongoing support. Knowing we will still be watching and monitoring their condition adds that extra safety net.

For those who graduate, we make sure that, whether through Palliative Care East Bay or through a future need, Hospice East Bay will be “here when you need us.”

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