Myths About Hospice
Myth: Hospice is a Place
Fact: Hospice care usually takes place in the comfort of your home, but can be provided in any environment in which you live, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and residential care facilities
Myth: Hospice Means That the Patient Will Soon Die
Fact: Receiving hospice care does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent. The earlier an individual receives hospice care, the more opportunity there is to stabilize your medical condition and address other needs. Some patients actually improve and may be discharged from hospice care.
Myth: Families Have to Pay for Hospice Care
Fact: Hospice care is a Medicare benefit. Most private insurers also cover hospice as well. And, through its charity care policies, Willow Tree Hospice is committed to caring for all patients, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.
Myth: Patients Have To Give Up Their Own Doctor
Fact: Patients may keep their own physicians, who will work closely with the Willow Tree Hospice Medical Director to plan and carry out care.
Myth: Hospice Is Only For Cancer Patients
Fact: A large number of hospice patients have congestive heart failure, dementia, chronic lung disease, failure to thrive or other life limiting conditions.
Myth: Patients Can Only Receive Hospice Care For A Limited Amount Of Time
Fact: The Medicare benefit, and most private insurance, pays for hospice care as the patient continues to meet the hospice criteria . Patients may come on and off hospice care, and re-enroll in hospice care, as determined by their illness.
Myth: Hospice Provides 24-hour Care
Fact: The hospice team (which includes nurses, social workers, home health aides, chaplains, volunteers and bereavement support) visits patients intermittently, and are available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week for support. Willow Tree Hospice can help arrange for 24-hour attendant care if necessary.
Myth: All Hospice Programs Are The Same
Fact: All licensed hospice programs must provide certain services, but the range of support services and programs often differ greatly.
Myth: Hospice Is Just For The Patient
Fact: Hospice focuses on symptom management, comfort, dignity, and emotional support. Quality of life for the patient, and also family members and other caregivers, is the highest priority.
Myth: Hospice Is Where You Go When There Is “Nothing Else To Be Done”
Fact: Hospice is the “something more” that can be done for the patient and the family when the illness cannot be cured. It is a concept based on comfort-oriented care. Hospice is a compassionate approach to managing the pain and distressing physical symptoms of illness as well as addressing the difficult issues surrounding end-of-life that challenge both the patient and the family. Services focus on respecting individuals’ wishes and maintaining dignity by helping to control pain, manage symptoms and provide emotional and spiritual support.
Myth: Families Should Be Isolated From A Dying Patient
Fact: Hospice staff believe that when family members (including children) experience the dying process in a caring environment, it helps counteract the fear of their own mortality and the mortality of their loved one.
Myth: Hospice Care Is More Expensive
Fact: Studies have shown hospice care is less expensive than conventional care during the last six months of life.
Less high-cost technology is used, and family, friends and volunteers provide 90% of the day-to-day patient care at home.
Myth: Hospice Is Just For The Elderly
Fact: Hospice is for all age groups during their final stages of life, including children and adults.
Myth: Hospice Means Giving Up Hope
Fact: Hospice does not mean “giving up hope,” rather it focuses on maximizing the quality of life based on an individual’s choices so that the person may live life as fully as possible for as long as possible.
Myth: It’s Too Early For Hospice If The Patient Feels Good or Doesn’t Have Pain
Fact: The patient’s prognosis, along with a desire for comfort care and support, may justify a hospice referral.
Common feedback from patients and families is that they wish they had hospice earlier.
Myth: Hospice Is Useful Only When Someone Needs A Significant Amount of Pain Medication
Fact: Hospice is designed to maximize the quality of life, relationships, and experiences at the end of one’s life. This is accomplished by the provision of not only medical care, but also social, psychosocial, and spiritual support given by an inter-disciplinary team that includes a hospice physician, nurse, counselor, chaplain, volunteers and other professionals.
Myth: You Must Have A DNR To Be Admitted Onto Hospice Services
Fact: While the DNR (“Do Not Resuscitate”) can be a useful tool for loved ones making difficult decisions, it is not a required document for admission to hospice.
Myth: Patients Can’t Receive Curative Treatments While On Hospice
Fact: While the hospice Medicare benefit requires beneficiaries to forego curative treatments, some hospices accept patient receiving “aggressive therapy” aimed at managing or alleviating their symptoms. This is usually determined on a case by case basis.
Myth: Hospice Is Only For The Sick Family Member
Fact: Hospice is designed to support all family members during the illness, in terms of their emotional needs and the
education they may need to best care for their loved one at home. Hospice also offers bereavement support for at least
a year after the death of a loved one.