Experts offer insight into end-of-life care and the possibility of recovery

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
Updated June 25, 2015 12:00 PM
Credit: Landov

On Wednesday, Bobbi Kristina Brown‘s family revealed she was being transferred to hospice as her condition continues “to deteriorate.”

Although her family is still praying for a "miracle," the move signaled that the chances of the 22-year-old making a full recovery are highly unlikely nearly five months after she was found unresponsive in the bathtub of her Roswell, Georgia, home on Jan. 31.

Below, learn more about hospice and what it means for a person’s chances for recovery:

What qualifies someone for hospice care?

“Within a doctor’s best estimation, a person would likely die within 6 months,” Jon Radulovic, Vice President of Communications at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, tells PEOPLE.

Do patients ever recover after being moved to hospice?

“There are patients who, under hospice care, do better and they might not qualify anymore and be discharged, but usually that’s sort of temporary because usually you have some sort of terminal diagnosis to get into hospice care and then very rarely is someone cured when there’s that terminal diagnosis. But some people do get better and might get discharged, but often will come back at a later date,” says Radulovic.

Melanie Kielich, a referral advisor for Vitas Healthcare, which specializes in hospice and palliative care, agrees and tells PEOPLE: “We do have patients that are on hospice care for a little while, they get better and they would then get off hospice care, but then usually those patients do end up back on hospice care at some point in time, but there’s usually a reprieve for them.”

RELATED VIDEO: Cissy Houston: Bobbi Kristina Is ‘Not Progressing at All’

What is the amount of time patients are usually in hospice?

“It varies a lot, but the average amount of time someone is usually in hospice is for around 50 days,” says Radulovic. “But again, it varies depending on what the person is admitted for. A lot of people think hospice care is just for cancer patients or older people, but hospice actually serves people who have a wide range of illnesses leading to the end of their lives, so there really isn’t a consistent average because different people with different illnesses respond differently.”

What are the typical services provided in hospice?

“That really varies by patient,” says Kielich. “Our goal is to make the patient comfortable and preserve their dignity while they’re receiving that end of life care, so we do try to keep patients wherever they want to be … We provide medical, spiritual and emotional care for our patients.”

Reporting by NICOLE SANDS