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10 Hospice Care Myths

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care provider helps couple understand hospice care mythsThe truth of hospice is that it is a compassionate approach to end-of-life care. It helps patients and their families to cope with the physical and emotional pain of a terminal illness. Despite the care and support hospice provides, there are several myths that need to be debunked.

If your loved one has been referred to hospice care, Compassus can help. Call 833.380.9583 to find a Compassus care team near you.

The Myths and Facts About Hospice Care

Myth: Hospice is only provided at an inpatient hospice facility or hospital.

Fact: Hospice is provided anywhere a patient calls home. Often that’s in the patient’s home or the home of a family member, but it could also be a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital.

Myth: Hospice care is only for people giving up on life.

Fact: Ultimately, hospice is not about dying. It is about helping people live their best life possible with the time they have left. Research published in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that people with a life-limiting illness who choose end-of-life palliative care live longer and often say they experience better mood and quality of life over those who choose aggressive end-of-life medical care.

Myth: Choosing comfort care means giving up control.

Fact: You are always in control of your care and may choose to end hospice care or change providers. Patients and families make the final decision about when to choose hospice and who provides care. The best care happens when we listen first and coordinate with you, your family, and your doctor.

Myth: Hospice care is expensive.

Fact: Hospice is a fully funded Medicare, VA, or Medicaid benefit, unlimited in length, and is covered by many private insurance companies. Most plans cover:

  • Visits from your care team
  • Medications
  • Supplies and equipment related to the hospice diagnosis

Care includes visits from nurses and other health care professionals, social services, certain therapies, and spiritual counseling. 

Myth: Once you decide on hospice, you can’t go back.

Fact: Patients can revoke hospice participation at any time. Their medical condition may improve, or they may decide to pursue curative treatment again. Patients can reapply for care at a later time.

Myth: Hospice care is only for people with a few days or weeks to live.

Fact: While hospice certainly helps patients and families during a medical crisis, the fullest benefit occurs when pain and symptoms are managed and patients have time to make personal and spiritual connections.

Myth: Only a doctor can refer someone for hospice care.

Fact: It is important for patients and families to know that anyone can make a referral. Family, clergy, nurses, or others can refer a patient.

Myth: Hospice care ends with the passing of the patient.

Fact: Bereavement or grief support is an important part of hospice. At Compassus, we offer families a full year of bereavement support after the death of a family member. We also help with funeral arrangements and other issues that arise after death.

Myth: Hospice is only for people with cancer.

Fact: Hospice is for patients of any age with a prognosis of six months to live or less. Reasons for admission may include end-stage cancer, dementia, heart disease, lung disease, stroke, or coma.

Myth: Hospice and palliative care are the same.

Fact: Both provide practical, emotional, social, and spiritual support for people and their families. Hospice only begins after a person makes the decision to end treatment for a terminal illness. Hospice patients continue to receive treatment for any disorders not related to the hospice diagnosis. Palliative care is extra medical and social support for people at any stage of illness.

Reach Out to Compassus to Find a Care Team Near You

With more than 200 locations in 29 states, Compassus offers the very best in hospice care. Our team of compassionate professionals work together to provide personalized, holistic care that honors dignity, respect, and quality of life. To find a Compassus location near you, call us today at 833.380.9583 or reach out online.