Though 1.5 million Americans choose hospice care to meet their end-of-life needs each year, hospice care remains a mystery to many. As a result, there are patients who miss out on the amazing care that hospice can provide. Hospice is a program to help people with advanced illness live more comfortably and to meet the end of life with confidence, respect and dignity. To learn if hospice is the right option for you or your loved one, discover the truth behind the eight most common hospice myths.
Myth #1: Hospice care starts during the last few weeks of life.
Fact: Individuals that have a life expectancy of six months or less are eligible to receive hospice care. Care begins as soon as your doctor refers you to a hospice program. Regardless of where your journey may lead, hospice care focuses on living rather than dying.
Myth #2: Hospice is for the elderly.
Fact: Hospice care is designed to serve anyone facing life-limiting illness, regardless of age or diagnosis. In fact, over the last two decades, hospice organizations have served an increasing amount of children and young adults and expanded services specific to young people facing life-limiting illness or disease.
Myth #3:Hospice care can’t be provided at the same time as curative medical treatment.
Fact: The goal of hospice is to focus on physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort vs. curative treatment because it is either no longer successful or the risks outweigh the benefits. The hospice team’s ultimate goal is to improve quality of life , focusing on the patient and family’s goals of care. The hospice team is expert at providing pain management and symptom control that may include a combination of traditional and holistic treatment. People on hospice often live as long or longer than people who are aggressively treating an advanced illness.
Myth #4: Hospice care is inferior to disease-focused treatment.
Fact: Hospice provides the same quality of care as patients undergoing curative treatment receive. Hospice care is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, therapists, who are trained to handle around-the-clock needs or crisis. Unlike other forms of care, your hospice care is specifically designed to meet the unique medical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients nearing the end of life.
Myth #5: Hospice is for when they just need to take you out of the hospital.
Fact: Choosing hospice care does not mean your health care team has given up hope. Instead, it’s a decision that you and your primary care physician will make together to ensure you receive more focused and personalized care to live fully and comfortably.
Myth #6: Hospice means your family is done taking care of you.
Fact: Your family is an integral part of your hospice care team. Whether they serve as your full-time caregivers or are simply involved to provide ongoing support, your hospice care team involves your loved ones in each aspect of care, offering them professional support and training to better cope with and care for your diagnosis.
Myth #7: Hospice care means you no longer have a voice in your health care.
Fact: Hospice care is centered on your needs, wishes and goals. As the most important member of your care team, each stage of care is tailored to your individual medical and comfort preferences and coordinated to accommodate your desired schedule.
Myth #8: Hospice is a place you have to go to.
Fact: It’s true that hospice care can be delivered in a variety of settings, from the hospital to a long-term care facility. However, over 90 percent of hospice services provided in the United States are delivered in a patient’s home or place of residence. Because of this, hospice care is not about a physical location, it’s about delivering care in the place you feel most comfortable and secure.
Choosing to receive hospice care is a decision for which no person should have to make alone. If you are considering hospice care as the next phase of your care, contact UnityPoint at Home to learn about our knowledgeable and caring hospice care team who are here to deliver personalized care, where and when you need it most.