March 7, 2024

Facts and Myths about Hospice Care

Hospice care provides an invaluable service for patients and families during the final stage of life. Earlier transitions to hospice are the most beneficial and effective. End-of-life care improves life quality by supporting and assisting family and friends through the experience.

Below are some common myths followed by facts about hospice care:

Myth: Hospice means giving up hope.

Fact: Hospice does not mean that you are giving up hope, but instead focus on what is important; what to hope for with the time that remains. Hospice is all about maximizing the quality of life based on individual choices and priorities. We are here to help you live life fully for the time remaining. 

Myth: Hospice is a place.

Fact: Hospice is a medical specialty, a Medicare benefit, and a philosophy of care. Hospice can be provided in a number of locations including your home (which includes assisted living facilities and nursing facilities) as well as at our Hospice House. Our goal is to meet your end of life needs in any setting.

Myth: Hospice is for the elderly.

Fact: Hospice is available to individuals of all ages with an anticipated life expectancy of 6 months or less. We have experience caring for hospice patients of all ages.

Myth: Hospice is for patients with cancer.

Fact: Hospice is specialized medical care for all individuals who have a life limiting illness and are not pursuing curative care. Hospice patients may have a variety of medical illnesses including, but not limited to, dementia, heart disease, respiratory disease, and cancer. 

Myth: Hospice provides around the clock care.

Fact: Hospice is an intermittent and individualized medical specialty. Care is designed to meet the unique needs of each patient and their family and is provided by a multidisciplinary team comprised of a medical director, nurses, social workers, licensed nursing assistants, chaplains, and volunteers. Most hospice patients will receive care in the comfort of their own home which will afford them to live life as fully, surrounded by those they love. Around the clock hospice care is provided at our Hospice House, designed to meet the critical care needs of those hospice patients whose symptoms cannot be managed at home and require 24-hour nursing.  

Myth: Hospice withholds nutrition and hydration.

Fact: Hospice does not withhold any needs of patients and encourages food and beverages as desired and tolerated. This is the time to savor what you love.

Myth: Hospice hastens death.

Fact: Research has demonstrated quite the opposite. Individuals who receive hospice care often live longer than those who do not because they are cared for by a team of health providers who specialize in end-of-life care and can address symptoms and comfort. 

Myth: Hospice is for the last days of life.

Fact: Hospice is a Medicare benefit that is also offered by many private insurers. Eligibility is determined by two medical providers, assessing that an individual has a life expectancy of approximately six months or less. As long as a patient continues to meet the eligibility, they may receive hospice care longer than six months. We are here for you and your loved ones for the time remaining. 

Myth: Hospice is just for the patient.

Fact: Hospice is a service that provides comfort care to the patient as well as emotional and respite support to family members. The quality of life, of both the patient and family is our focus. Bereavement support is offered to family members for 13 months following the passing of their loved one, helping them through the one-year anniversary of their loss. 

Myth: Hospice depends on sedation as the primary means to manage pain and discomfort.

Fact: Hospice uses many means to provide comfort and pain relief for patients. If medication is recommended, it is initiated at low doses and if that dosage is effective, it is not increased.