When beginning hospice care, many people wonder whether they can still see their own doctor(s). While the answer is often “yes,” there are complexities to be aware of to help ensure no issues arise that interfere with the patient’s quality of care or the provider’s ability to administer accurate billing.
When can a patient see their own doctor?
This chart outlines the specifications that allow you to see your own doctor(s) when receiving hospice care. Limitations vary based on the condition for which you are being seen, as well as how you plan to pay for the provider’s services.
What should be considered when seeing a doctor outside the hospice team?
If you or a loved one want to see a doctor who isn’t part of your hospice care team, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Communication is crucial: Your hospice team will be primarily responsible for coordinating and monitoring care throughout disease progression, so it’s important for any additional providers to be on the same page with the hospice care plan and the patient’s needs. This helps make sure that you or your loved one receive the best symptom management and comfort possible.
- Approval is required: When a patient begins hospice care for a terminal illness, the focus shifts from treatment to quality of life. Your hospice provider must approve a third-party doctor to act as the attending physician, not to limit your options but to verify that he or she is able and willing to support the patient’s wishes and care plan.
- You still have choices: If your current doctor is unable to serve as your attending physician, you may choose from any of your hospice provider’s approved physicians. If none of these meet your needs, you may also choose a different hospice provider. At Magnolia Hospice, we believe in every person’s right to medical care that respects their wishes and dignity.
It’s completely normal to have questions about hospice care and what to expect, both for patients and those close to them. We are here to help. If you are exploring end-of-life care for yourself or a loved one, please reach out with any questions – our caring and professional team would be happy to share more about the hospice journey with you.