Senior Resources » Is Hospice Just for End of Life?

Is Hospice Just for End of Life?

When most people think of hospice care, they think of it as a death sentence. After all, the focus of hospice is caring, not curing. But is this type of care only for patients who are nearing the end of their lives? Can patients receiving hospice care actually get better? Keep reading to find out more.


MYTH: Hospice is a death sentence.

hospice hands

Contrary to popular belief, hospice isn’t for patients who have a life expectancy of weeks or months. One does not need to be terminal to benefit from this type of care. If you are suffering from a disease or condition whose cure is unlikely, then you may be a hospice candidate. Hospice provides comfort and relief from pain. Additionally, it may allow both the patient and their loved ones much-needed peace of mind and support.

MYTH: Hospice speeds up death.

patient in bed with nurse at her side

Another common misconception about hospice is that it actually hastens the death process. This could not be further from the truth! As a matter of fact, hospice may actually extend one’s life expectancy. Although not traditional medical care, hospice uses curative treatments that will both bring you relief and improve your quality of life.


MYTH: Hospice is for patients who have no hope.

hospice visit

Coming to the end of one’s life journey is certainly fraught with sadness. However, that doesn’t mean hospice is a grim, hopeless thing! In fact, one should meet hospice with hope and gratitude. Studies have even found that hope has tremendous benefits for both the patient and loved ones. Hope may also allow patients to tie up loose ends and focus on their legacy. Some hospice patients may get in touch with their spiritual side. Others may choose to repair bridges or fractured relationships with family and friends. While it is the close of a chapter, it doesn’t have to be sad. It can be a time of healing, peace, and forgiveness.

FACT: Hospice helps loved ones, too.

young woman and senior adult father

Hospice is comprehensive, focusing on more than the patient. Loved ones will also receive the support and benefits they need. Some of the care services offered include:

  • Respite for caregivers
  • Counseling
  • Grief support
  • Financial support

FACT: Hospice has no time limit.

While hospice is for people with a life expectancy of 6 months or less, you can extend your care “as long as the hospice medical director or other hospice doctor recertifies that you’re terminally ill (according to Not just any doctor can certify that you’re terminally ill. Either your hospice doctor or regular medical provider must provide this certification.

FACT: You can stop hospice care.

married couple hugging

Guess what? Hospice care can be stopped at any time! Whether you want to stop hospice to pursue alternative medical care or your illness went into remission, you’ll just need to sign a few forms to make that happen. So, while hospice is for patients with a life expectancy of six months or less, it encompasses so much more than end-of-life care. Done right, it instills the patient and their families with hope, granting them a better outlook and the quality of life they deserve.


Looking for more?

senior woman in hospital bed

If you or a loved one are looking for more great hospice resources, then check out these articles next:

Originally published September 15, 2023

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