Common Myths of Hospice


1. Myth- Hospice is only for people with cancer.

Nationwide greater than one-fifth of all hospice patients have a diagnosis other than cancer. Hospice serves families that are coping with end-stages of chronic diseases, like emphysema, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular and neuromuscular diseases.

2. Myth- Hospice care is expensive.

Medicare and Medicaid, as do most private insurances, have a hospice benefit. This benefit covers the cost of comfort care medicines, medical equipment and supplies that are related to the patient’s primary diagnosis and is in their plan of care. Financial assistance for those that do not have insurance coverage is based on need.

3. Myth- Hospice is only for dying people.

Focus of care for hospice is on the patient and family. Hospice follows the family after the death of the loved one for individual and family counseling, if desired. Hospices offer support services to individuals in the community, who are dealing with serious illnesses and offer grief and bereavement services.

4. Myth- Hospice can only help when they family members are available to provide care.

Hospices recognize that terminally ill patients may reside alone or with family members that are unable to provide care. When the care cannot be accomplished with the patient in this setting, hospices will work with the patients and families to place them in a mutually agreed upon place. Safety and care for the patient are primary concerns of hospice.

5. Myth- Hospice is for people who don’t need a higher level of care.

Hospice is for persons that have elected comfort care instead of aggressive care. Hospices provide a “special kind of caring” that is highly specialized in relieving pain and other distressing symptoms. Hospices include a medical director, registered nurses, home health aides, social workers, volunteers, chaplain, and bereavement coordinator.

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