Myths About Hospice Care Hospice care really means giving up all efforts.

No, hospice care aims to provide comfort with dignity to someone who has been told that nothing else can

be done. If the person has no chances of survival, there still is a chance that their quality of life can be improved. Love ones can be
trained to handle stress and manage the changes going on. In a broader picture,
hospice care minimizes the negative impact of death on society.

Hospice care only helps cancer or AIDS patients.

No, hospice care is not limited to cancer or AIDS. It includes many other life-limiting illnesses such as end-stage heart, lung, or kidney disease, or Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s. It is always recommended for family members to consult a physician or hospice social worker to check if the patient in question qualifies for the hospice care.

A hospice is a place where people go to die.

It is true for inpatient hospices, since most of the hospice clients receive this service at private residences, assisted living communities, hospitals and long-term-care facilities. Some patients and family members prefer to stay home and some prefer to utilize hospice services in an institutionalized setting.

Receiving hospice care means that the patient is going to die shortly.

Hospice care does not accelerate the process of death and it does not help to prolong life. It only improves the quality of the patient’s remaining life. Many patients in hospice care get well enough to go back to their normal lives. On the other hand, there are many patients who have received hospice care several times in their lives. So, we cannot say that hospice care always means that patient is going to die.

Hospice care will not allow me to keep my physician

No, your physician can be involved in your care. Hospice physicians are typically the medical directors, and since they have legal responsibilities with the hospice, they must also be involved.

It is the doctor’s responsibility to recommend hospice care.

It is better that family members or love ones initiate discussion of hospice care because sometimes it upsetting for families if their doctor initiates this discussion. The patient himself, or family members, can consult hospice social workers to find out if the patient in question meets the criteria for obtaining hospice care.

Patients cannot quit hospice program.

No, patients can quit the hospice program that they are enrolled in if their condition improves enough for them to go back to their everyday lives. If for whatever reason their health deteriorates again, they can rejoin and receive the care that is necessary.

Patients can’t receive other treatments with hospice care.

Patients can receive other treatments if the care received improves the quality of life and does not prolong life.

A patient must have DNR to receive hospice care.

No

To be eligible for hospice care, patients have to be in the final stages of dying.

Hospice patients and families receive care for an unlimited amount of time, depending upon the course of the illness. There is no fixed limit on the amount of time a patient may continue to receive hospice services.

Reliable care at the end of someone’s life is very expensive. 

Medicare beneficiaries pay little or nothing for hospice care. For those ineligible of Medicare, most insurance plans, HMO’s, and managed care plans cover hospice care.

Families are not able to care for people with terminal illnesses.  

Family members are encouraged, supported, and trained by hospice professionals to care for their loved ones. Hospice staff is on call for the patient and their families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help family and friends care for their loved ones.

 Hospice care is just for the elderly.

No, hospice care is for anyone facing a terminal illness, regardless of age. Children, adults, and elderly patients all can receive hospice care if they meet the criteria of obtaining hospice care.

Hospice care ends after the patient’s death.

No, it does not always end after patient’s death. Bereavement services and grief support are available to family members for up to one year after the death of the patient. Many families face emotional issues after the death of loved ones. Hospice care is available to resolve those issues and minimize the stress. Some may say that hospice care has healing effects on the emotions of the patient and of their loved ones.

 Hospice care is only for people who can accept death.

This is not necessarily true. The hospice patient must be aware that the care that the hospice is providing them can lead to recovery. While those affected by terminal illness struggle to come to terms with death, hospices gently help them find their way at their own speed. Many hospices welcome inquiries from families who are unsure about their needs and preferences. It is always recommended to contact your physician and hospice social worker to get advice. The hospice’s staff is readily available to discuss all options and to facilitate open family decisions.

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