Qualifying Diagnoses/Conditions

When can hospice help? Hospice is not only for people with incurable cancer. Hospice can help people with a variety of life-limiting conditions when their symptoms no longer respond to treatment. This list may serve as a guide. Ask your doctor or contact Hospice de la Luz to learn more about your options.

Congestive Heart Disease

  • Shortness of breath when resting
  • Edema (swelling) in feet, legs, hands or abdomen
  • Severe fatigue
  • Frequent ER visits or hospitalizations

End-Stage Kidney Disease

  • Fluid build-up in abdomen and extremities
  • Requiring frequent hospitalizations
  • Refusing transplant or dialysis

Lung Disease

  • Symptoms poorly controlled
  • Extreme shortness of breath
  • Oxygen dependent
  • Frequent hospital and ER visits
  • Recurrent infections

Multi-System Breakdown

  • Multiple organ failure; such as having heart disease and lung disease
  • Overall decline in health
  • Weight loss


  • Coma or irreversible damage
  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • Needs assistance or dependent care needs


  • Disease is worsening; medications are no longer effective
  • Increased infections
  • Increased difficulties with self-care
  • Increased weakness and weight loss

ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

  • Increased difficulties with self-care
  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle wasting or rigidity

Dementia or Alzheimer’s

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bowel and bladder control problems
  • Unable to bathe, dress or feed themselves
  • Unable to speak or limited ability to communicate
  • Steady weight loss


  • Has spread to other organs
  • Symptoms are worsening
  • Steady weight loss