Five myths about being “on hospice”

February 13, 2016

forested path1. “Once hospice is involved, it’s all over. Hospice only focuses on death.”

A. Hospice focuses on living life to the fullest. This means different things for different people so hospice teams try to find out what that means for each individual patient and place their focus there.

Fact: Many patients admitted to hospice often do better and have a better quality of life because they well cared for and comfortable.

2. “Morphine use causes death.”

A. Hospice focuses on pain control and symptom management. Morphine or other analgesics that are taken for pain will not cause or hasten death.

Fact: Better pain and symptom management means a better quality of life.

3. “Hospice can’t understand our family.” (spiritual or culturally diverse families)

A. The hospice team’s focus is on the patient and each individual member of the care team. The hospice team partners with patients and families to determine the best course of action. By talking with the family and asking questions, they are able to create a plan of care based on the individual patient and families’ needs and wishes.

Fact: Hospice team members love the diversity of their patients and families and cherish being able to find that unique spark that makes a family work.

 4. “Only patients living in facilities can receive hospice.”

A. Hospice is for anyone in any place that they call “home”. This could mean assisted living facilities, adult care homes, private homes, nursing facilities, inpatient hospice care and even in hospitals and prisons.

Fact: Hospice is a service that is available to anyone who has a prognosis of six months or less to live, regardless of where they live.

5. “Hospice costs too much.”

A. Hospice is a benefit fully paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. This benefit covers physician visits, nursing, social work, spiritual care, hospice aides, volunteers, bereavement care, many medications, medical equipment and supplies and 24/7 availability of your care team.

Fact: Studies continually prove that hospice care is far less expensive than dying in a hospital. Most patients prefer to pass in the comfort and familiar surroundings of their home. 

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