Hospice is specialized care and medical support for those who are nearing the end of life. Care is focused on comfort and symptom management rather than curing any illnesses. Though the average number of hospice patients is upwards of 1.5 million per year, there are still plenty of myths surrounding this care option. Let’s bust the top 8 and go over the facts!
Hospice Myth 1: Patients cannot live past 6 months.
To begin hospice, doctors must certify that a patient is unlikely to live longer than 6 months. However, there is actually no duration limit for hospice. So, patients can continue utilizing care as long as needed.
Hospice Myth 2: Hospice care is only for people with cancer.
About half of all hospice patients have a primary diagnosis of cancer. The other half has any one of a number of different terminal illnesses.
Hospice Myth 3: Hospice is a physical place.
Well – this is mostly a myth. Care can happen at home, in a nursing facility, in assisted living, or in an inpatient hospice facility. Although there are some physical hospice facilities, care is more often than not provided where a patient lives.
Hospice Myth 4: Care is only for the patient.
While comfort care for the patient is a huge focus within hospice, that’s not all it does. Did you know that spiritual, emotional, and grief support are also available for family members? Hospice aims to provide a higher quality of life for everyone involved.
Hospice Myth 5: Once you’re in, you can’t change your mind.
Hospice care is about comfort over cure. However, if a patient and their family decide to leave hospice and pursue curative treatment elsewhere – they can! Also, if a patient’s prognosis happens to change while receiving hospice, they may discontinue services as well.
Hospice Myth 6: Palliative care is the same as hospice care.
Palliative care is any type of medical or holistic care that provides symptom relief. It may be received as a part of hospice, but the two are not the same thing. A person does not have to be terminally ill to use palliative care.
Hospice Myth 7: Hospice is only for senior citizens.
Although the majority of patients are over the age of 65, around 20% are younger. Hospice care is for anyone who needs end of life care.
Hospice Myth 8: It is expensive.
Since the vast majority of those who use this service are over the age of 65, Medicare will pay. Medicare benefits will pay for hospice when a senior is certified as terminally ill by their doctor. Almost all care is covered at very little or no cost.
Do you need more help?
Need more help with hospice care? Then start with these great resources: