Ten myths and realities about Hospice

Quality end-of-life care isn’t about how you die; it’s about how you live. Creekside Hospice care focuses on how person and their loved ones live each day, during their disease progression by providing comfort and guidance along the way. When a cure is no longer possible, hospice provides the type of care most people say they want at the end of life–comfort and quality of life.

While more than 1.2 million people were cared for by the nation’s 4,000 hospice programs last year, many myths exist about hospice that deter people from seeking out this compassionate system of care.

  1. Choosing hospice means that I’m “giving up.”

    When a cure is no longer possible, hospice provides the type of care most people say they want at the end of life–comfort and quality of life. The most common statement made by families who chose hospice for their loved one is, “we wish we had known about hospice sooner.”

  2. Hospice care won’t allow me or my family to be involved in making decisions about treatment.

    Hospice puts patients and families at the center of care. Trained professionals provide guidance and encourage open, honest communication about individual wishes and choices.

  3. My grandmother died in a great deal of pain, but that’s just to be expected as part of the dying process.

    Hospice doctors, nurses, and others are uniquely trained to control each person’s pain, while still keeping the patient awake and alert whenever possible.

  4. I want to care for my husband at home; I don’t want him to go to a hospice.

    Hospice is not a place, but a philosophy of care. The majority of hospice care takes place in the home, where the person can be surrounded by family and familiar settings.

  5. My mother lives in a nursing home and I can’t bring her to my home to care for her, so hospice wouldn’t be available.

    Hospice care is available in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and even contracted hospitals–wherever the patient lives and considers home.

  6. Hospice care just keeps dying people heavily medicated; all they focus on is the physical process of dying.

    Hospice pain management is highly specialized and tailored to each individual, to ensure the highest quality of life possible to live each day free from pain until the end. In addition, hospice utilizes complementary therapies such as massage and soothing music, pet therapy and provides emotional and spiritual support to the dying person and the loved ones, including bereavement support for the family after the death.

  7. My partner’s doctor suggested hospice; that must mean that my partner has only a few days left to live.

    Hospice care is available to anyone who has a life-threatening or terminal illness, that has a prognosis of six months or less if the illness runs its normal course. Patients can remain in hospice longer than six months if necessary.

  8. My son is dying of liver failure and I want the most compassionate care possible for him. But someone told me hospice care is only for older people with cancer.

    Hospice programs have developed guidelines to care for anyone, at any age, facing a life-threatening or terminal illness.

  9. My grandfather doesn’t have private insurance, so he won’t be able to afford good end-of-life care when he needs it.

    Hospice is fully covered by Medicare, by Medicaid, the VA. and by most HMOs and insurance companies.

  10. Once a patient elects hospice, he or she can no longer receive care from the primary care physician.

    Hospice reinforces the patient-primary physician relationship by advocating either office or home visits, according to the physician preference. Hospices work closely with the primary physician and consider the continuation of the patient-physician relationship to be of the highest priority.

Getting information isn’t an obligation to start hospice, while knowing what we can provide may be the shelter during a storm of uncertainty.

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