Hospice Visits in Last Days of Life


At Amedisys, we’re committed to being there when patients and their families need us the most. That’s why it’s important to ensure appropriate care and attention during patients’ final days to help them transition peacefully and to bolster those they leave behind.

We’ve developed a protocol called Code Green to activate an increased rotation of visits from clinicians so no patient transitions alone.

Amedisys’ Code Green Protocol

Code Green is a call to action for the hospice team to work together to address the evolving physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient as they approach the end of life.

While no one can predict the exact day or time a patient will die, our clinicians combine their own experience in monitoring symptoms and data from a world-class clinical decision support tool from our partners at Medalogix to help determine when to trigger Code Green.

Once the team determines a patient is nearing death, the case manager will communicate this change in status to the family, discussing how the care plan will adjust and what to expect over the next few days.

At this stage, the hospice nurse and the hospice aide visit every day while the social worker and chaplain, if needed, visit every other day. The full team is on deck to anticipate any worsening symptoms and intervene when necessary, obtain orders from the physician to ensure availability of medications and treatments and to provide education and training to caregivers on what to expect and what to do.

The Benefits of Hospice Visits in the Last Days of Life

Amedisys’ experience and end-of-life protocol has strong results – we’re proud that, on average, our patients receive a visit from a registered nurse or medical social worker on at least two of the final three days of life 75.5 percent of the time, well above the industry average of 48 percent.

By combining the art of caregiving and data-backed science, our teams can make more informed decisions about end-of-life care with significant benefits:

  • Helping the patient remain in their home in the final days and hours of life
  • Increasing patient-centric support at end of life
  • Enhancing communication and coordination of care
  • Focusing on the care that matters most
  • Assisting in avoiding hospitalizations at the end of life
  • 24/7 availability
  • Better patient/caregiver satisfaction
  • Helping patients transition with quality and dignity

End-of-Life Signs and Symptoms

Hospice clinicians are trained to watch for both physical and behavioral signs that the end of life is near.

Physical Signs

Patients may exhibit any combination of the following:

  • Longer periods of sleep
  • Facial weakness
  • Numbness in limbs
  • Nausea
  • Inability to swallow
  • Changes in breathing patterns or absent breath sounds
  • Open mouth breathing
  • Body temperature changes

Behavioral Signs

In addition to physical signs, patients may exhibit some of the following behavioral symptoms:

  • Increased restlessness or agitation
  • Decreased responsiveness to surroundings and environment
  • Hallucinations
  • Inability to communicate
  • Delayed responses

How to Find Hospice Care

Deciding to have the hospice conversation can be difficult, but our team of experienced specialists are here to help you navigate your loved one’s care journey.

If you’re ready to speak with our team, complete the form below or contact a care center near you.

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