Hospice is often a tough topic to discuss. Lack of information, misunderstandings and fear often prevent people from taking advantage of end of life care. Here’s a look at some of the common misperceptions about hospice.
False: Hospice is a place.
True: Hospice care takes place wherever the patient calls home, including long term and assisted living facilities.
False: Hospice is only for patients in their final days of life or have given up hope.
True: Hospice is about living life as fully as possible. In fact, patients and families receive the greatest benefit when hospice care is started early. Each patient and his caregivers receive individualized care that meets their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice care focuses on caring, not curing, and neither hastens nor prolongs the dying process.
False: Hospice is only for cancer patients.
True: More than 50% of patients have a diagnosis other than cancer. A large number of our patients have end-stages of chronic diseases such as emphysema, COPD, Alzheimer’s and neuromuscular disease.
False: Hospice means giving up control.
True: The hospice team will sit down with the patient and family to create a care plan to address each patient’s needs. The control in almost all instances rests with the patient and the family.
False: Hospice over medicates the patient which causes them to die sooner.
True: One of the primary goals of hospice care is to make the patient comfortable, pain free and as alert as possible.
False: Hospice is too expensive. I can’t afford it.
True: Hospice services are covered under the Medicare Part A, Medicaid and most private insurances. This benefit covers the hospice team’s services, medications, supplies and equipment related to a patient’s life-limiting illness. Hospice staff will work with patients, families, insurance providers and other resources to ensure the patient receives all the benefits available.
False: Hospice makes you give up your primary doctor and all treatments.
True: The hospice team will work closely with your chosen primary physician to develop your plan of care. And while hospice does focus on treating symptoms rather than curative medicine, the decision to halt medication is usually left up to the patient. Most patients choose to stop taking curative medication because of the discomfort they may cause.
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