Hospice Myths or Facts

Hospice. The word alone often scares people. Why? Many myths surround hospice. Families often have a preconceived negative notion of hospice. However, I have found when they experience the hospice philosophy or talk to families that have benefited from hospice those negative connotations are dispelled. Below you will find a few of the most common hospice myths vs facts. Hospice Myths Myth #1: Individuals die sooner with hospice care than without. Fact: Hospice affirms life but never denies death. Although death at times may be difficult to understand, we recognize dying as a natural step in our life journey. It is believed that individuals may actually live somewhat longer once their emotional, physical and spiritual pain is addressed and adequately managed. Hospice focuses on comfort, dignity and emotional support. A core value of hospice is to strengthen families by improving the quality of life for the individual and their family members. Myth #2: Hospice will only treat symptoms related to the terminal diagnosis. Fact: Hospice care is designed to provide comfort. It is the belief of hospice that in order to provide overall comfort that illnesses unrelated to their terminal diagnosis must be treated as well. Therefore, illnesses or injuries, such as UTI’s, pneumonia, or broken bones, will receive appropriate attention. Myth #3: Hospice is a place. Fact: Hospice is provided in the patient’s home or place of residence. Hospice staff can provide hospice services in an independent senior complex, assisted livings and skilled nursing facilities. Myth #4: 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 long as the patient continues to meet the criteria necessary. Patients may come on and off hospice care, and re-enroll in hospice care, as needed. Myth #5: All hospice companies are the same. Fact: All hospice companies focus on comfort, dignity and emotional support. Our community has several different hospice companies. You have a right to choose a company that best fits your family. To find the best hospice for your needs, ask your doctor, clergy, social works or friends who have received care for a family member. If possible, take your time and interview a couple of companies. Find the company that has the right feel or personality for you and your family. Remember, hospice isn’t really about dying. It is about adding life, quality of life, to someone’s final days, weeks or months. Choosing hospice does not mean a death sentence. What hospice does mean is a change of focus. It means the person is in control: making choices about what is most important in his or her life


Author: Honey Goodman