Hospice Myths

Hospice care is about helping patients live each day of their lives as comfortably and to the fullest extent possible. It's also about providing care to the patient and their families.

When making a decision about hospice care, it helps to have a good understanding of what hospice is - and what hospice isn't. There are a lot of myths about hospice out there. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about hospice, along with the true facts about this special kind of medical care.

MYTH: Hospice means the patient will die soon.
FACT: Receiving hospice care does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent. The earlier a patient receives hospice care, the great opportunity there is to stabilize the medical condition and address other needs. Some patients actually improve and may be discharged from hospice care.

MYTH: Hospice is for cancer patients only, and patients who are very old.
FACT: Hospice patients can be any age. A large number of hospice patients have congestive heart failure, dementia, chronic lung disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), or other conditions.

MYTH: Patients can only receive hospice care for six months.
FACT: The Medicare benefit, and most private insurance, pays for hospice care as long as the patient continues to meet the criteria necessary.

MYTH: Hospice provides 24-hour care.
FACT: The hospice team (which includes physicians, nurses, social workers, home health aides, chaplains, and volunteers) visits patients intermittently, and are available when needed 24 hours a day/7 days a week for individualized support and care.

MYTH: Hospice is too expensive for our family to afford.
FACT: Hospice care is a Medicare benefit. Most private insurers also cover hospice care as well.

MYTH: Hospice is just for the patient.
FACT: Hospice focuses on comfort, dignity and emotional support. The quality of life for the patient, as well as for family members and caregivers, is the highest priority.

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