Despite helping over one million Americans every year, many people still hold some myths about hospice. But the facts about hospice remain to provide care, support, and comfort to both patients and their family members.
Hospice provides emotional, spiritual, and physical support for patients. Several hospice facts and statistics prove this.
In fact, according to a National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) report, 1.55 million Medicare beneficiaries received hospice care in 2018 alone. That’s an increase of 4 percent from the previous year.
In this article, you’ll discover ten common misconceptions about hospice. Let’s dive in.
Hospice means giving up.
Hospice focuses on comfort and improving quality of life rather than curing illness. That doesn’t me the patient is giving up on life. When curative treatments no longer work for your condition, it makes sense to stop spending money on them.
Hospice helps you transition from curing disease to making the rest of your life worth living and enjoyable. Multiple studies show that terminally ill patients who choose hospice enjoy a better quality of life and often live longer than people who don’t.
Hospice also provides support for patients’ families. During hospice at home, patients can leave home, take a walk, do errands and even take a trip if they feel well enough.
Only cancer patients need hospice.
In 2018, the NHPCO report revealed that about 70% of hospice patients were with a non-cancer primary diagnosis. That means only about 30% have cancer as their primary diagnosis.
The truth is that hospice is for patients with any terminal disease, including kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, stroke, dementia, heart failure, organ failure, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and so on.
Hospice hastens death.
Many people hold this misconception because most patients pass away during hospice care. But the truth is, hospice does not hasten death. In fact, according to a 2010 study, terminally ill patients in hospice lived almost three months longer than people who received curative care alone.
Hospice care focus on making patients’ end-of-life enjoyable. For instance, if you find out you only have 30 days to live, how would you spend those days?
Like most people, you would prefer to spend your remaining days with your family, sharing laughter & love and creating beautiful memories. Rather than on curative treatments that are no longer effective.
Hospice is too expensive.
At Hospice Care Options, care is covered by Medicare and Medicaid, and many other private insurance companies. Patients get hospice care regardless of their ability to pay.
The Medicare hospice benefit covers all medications, medical equipment, and supplies related to a hospice patient’s terminal diagnosis. A hospice aide who provides personal care, such as bathing and mouth care, is also covered.
During an emergency, the primary caregiver is advised to call the hospice team first before calling 911 or going to the hospital. The team will tell you what to do. If you choose to go directly to the hospital or emergency room without calling the hospice team first, insurance may not pay for your visit or stay.
Hospice doesn’t last beyond six months
The patient’s needs will determine the length of hospice care. As long as the patient still has only a short time to live (as determined by the doctor), they can receive unlimited visits for six months or longer.
Hospice is for people in the last weeks of their life.
As soon as the physician gives a prognosis of six months or less for a terminally ill patient, hospice care can begin. Many patients outlive their expected prognosis because hospice provides comfort, support, and pain & symptoms management.
Hospice happens at a hospital or hospice facility.
Hospice can be done at the hospital, in your home, in a nursing home, an assisted-living facility, a hospice facility, or anywhere you prefer.
You can never return to regular medical treatment.
Hospice care isn’t always a permanent choice. For example, you can decide to stop hospice care and resume curative treatments. Some patients may get better unexpectedly and decide to quit hospice care. Although, the option to reapply for hospice always remains open.
Another thing to note is that signing a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order is by no means a requirement of hospice.
Once the patient dies, hospice care ends.
Once the patient dies, the family members usually get bereavement services and grief counseling for a minimum of one year.
Hospice patients are sedated to sleep all the time.
For most terminally ill patients, death is not their worst fear because it may eventually happen. Their biggest fear is the pains experienced through the process.
During hospice, patients get medications for pain management. They begin medications with a very low dosage and only increase dosage if they still feel more pain.
Hospice care is not an avenue for abusing drugs. It’s for helping people understand that death does not need to be painful. Besides managing physical pain, hospice care also helps manage emotional and psychological pain for patients and their families.
Hospice Care Options is a leading provider of psychological, physical, emotional, and spiritual end-of-life care to patients who have terminal illnesses in Eastman, Macon, and the surrounding areas of Middle Georgia.
Our compassionate team of trained professionals provides care that focuses on the patient and their families in a holistic fashion, recognizing that they are much more than a disease. You get to work with a team of good listeners that want to support patients and their families during the last stage of an advanced illness.
For more than 20 years, we have helped patients in more than 49 counties throughout the state of Georgia. If you or a loved one is dealing with a terminal disease, we encourage you to reach out today to discuss the numerous care services we can provide.