Hospice Myths and Facts
06/01/2020 03:00 PM
Hospice care helps patients and their families make the most of the time that remains.
“Hospice provides support and care for persons in the last phases of an incurable disease so that they may live as fully and as comfortably
as possible.” (NHPCO, 2010)
Hospice care is for people who have a life-limiting illness with a life expectancy of six months or less, and who have chosen to focus on
comfort care over curative treatment.
Here are common hospice myths, along with the facts:
Myth: Becoming a hospice patient means giving up hope.
Fact: Hospice is about quality of life. Hospice patients are encouraged to live life to the fullest.
Myth: Hospice is a place.
Fact: Hospice occurs wherever the patient calls home, including a nursing home or assisted living facility. 80% of all hospice care is provided in the
comfort of home.
Myth: Hospice is for those who are close to death or actively dying.
Fact: The earlier the need for hospice is identified, the more benefit the patient may potentially get from the care. This leads to a higher quality of
life for patients with life-limiting conditions.
Myth: Hospice patients must sign a (Do Not Resuscitate) DNR.
Fact: You do not have to have a DNR or other advance directive.
Myth: Hospice care is only for cancer patients.
Fact: Any patient with a life-limiting illness with a life expectancy of six months or less may be appropriate for hospice care including those with
end-stage heart disease, COPD, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and AIDS, to name a few.
Myth: Only a doctor can refer a patient for hospice care.
Fact: Actually, anyone can make a referral. The information will be taken and the patient’s doctor will be contacted to discuss whether an
assessment of the patient for hospice is appropriate.
Myth: If you choose hospice care, you can never see your family physician again.
Fact: Your family physician can become a member of the hospice care team and is regularly informed of your condition.
Myth: Hospice care is expensive.
Fact: Hospice is a covered Medicare benefit, and most private insurance and Medicaid will also cover services. In addition, medical equipment
and prescriptions related to the life-limiting condition are often covered under these benefits. Hospice care is available to all eligible patients
regardless of the ability to pay.
Myth: The Medicare hospice benefit covers only six months of care.
Fact: The Medicare hospice benefit covers the care of a hospice patient as long as the patient is considered terminally ill with a life expectancy of
six months or less.
Hospice Myths and Facts
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