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Myths and Facts About Hospice

MYTH:  Hospice is only for patients who have given up hope and are close to death.
FACT:  Hospice is about living life as fully as possible! It’s about quality of life. Hospice care shifts the focus of aggressive curative treatments to medical comfort measures. Hospice care lessens fears of patients and loved ones by offering peace, comfort, and dignity.

The earlier the hospice care is started, the more benefits the patient AND the family will receive. Hospice is not just for the patient; it’s for the whole family. Bereavement services are provided to a family/care giver for 13 months following the death of a loved one. These services include monthly support groups, mailings, outings, Memorial Services, and more.

Social workers are also available for patients and their family/care giver. Hospice is extra support for the family during this time of need.  It enhances the quality of life for the patient through a customized care plan involving the patient’s doctor, hospice nurses, hospice aides, social workers, spiritual care coordinators, and volunteers.

MYTH:  Hospice is a place.
FACT:  Hospice care is provided wherever the patient calls home. There are no limits. This also includes a skilled nursing facility, assisted living, and, in certain cases, an inpatient setting. It is important to know YOU HAVE A CHOICE on which hospice provider cares for your loved one.

MYTH:  Hospice is expensive.
FACT:  Hospice care is paid 100% by Medicare and Medicaid. The majority of private insurance companies cover hospice as well. Hospice care can help save the family thousands of dollars because hospice pays for the medications, medical supplies, and durable equipment related to the diagnosis.

MYTH:  Hospice is only for people with cancer.
FACT:  Hospice care is for any patient with a life limiting illness, regardless of the diagnosis.  This could include cancer, Heart Disease, Pulmonary disease, Stroke, ALS and many others.

Hospice cares for any patient with any incurable illness with a prognosis of six months or less. Hospice patients have a variety of diagnoses, ranging from cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease to AIDS, COPD, and end-stage heart, liver, pulmonary, or renal disease.

MYTH:  Hospice uses morphine, which causes the patient to die sooner.
FACT:  Hospice physicians prescribe morphine and many other pain medications to keep patients comfortable.  These medications do not cause death. No one knows when a person will die. Our job as hospice providers is to make sure that our patients are comfortable and at peace. 
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