Hospice care is often misunderstood
It’s a common misconception that hospice care is only for people who are expected to pass away in days or weeks. Misunderstandings like this prevent people from taking advantage of helpful services that could improve quality of life for seniors and families. Here, we explain the truth about 5 common misconceptions.
What is hospice care?
The main goal of hospice care is to make your older adult as comfortable as possible. It’s a combination of pain and symptom management plus emotional and spiritual support for seniors and families.
Visiting nurses eliminate the need to go to the doctor’s office and families can even get help with personal care tasks like bathing. On-call help and support is always available – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Myth #1 – Hospice is only for the last few days of life
Many people in hospice actually receive care for six months or longer.
To be eligible for hospice under Medicare, seniors need to have Medicare Part A and have a doctor certify that they may not live more than 6 months. It’s important to note that this is completely different from saying that someone will definitely pass away within 6 months.
After six months, if your senior still needs the same level of care, the doctor and hospice team will re-certify that hospice services are still appropriate. Medicare will keep covering hospice care as long as the doctor certifies that your older adult meets the 6 month criteria.
Myth #2 – Once someone goes on hospice, they’re going to die
Getting hospice care doesn’t mean giving up hope or that death is around the corner. Hospice can help stabilize a patient’s medical condition and better manage pain.
Some people even improve so much that they get discharged from hospice care and go back to a lower level of care.
Myth #3 – Choosing hospice means giving up all other medical treatment
Hospice care can help patients continue treatments that are maintaining or improving their quality of life. If their illness improves, patients can leave hospice care at any time and return if and when they choose.
Just be aware that each hospice company has their own policies so it’s best to double check that the treatments your senior needs or wants are part of their services.
Myth #4 – Hospice care only happens at facilities
Hospice is a type of care, but it doesn’t have to happen in a specific place. Seniors can receive hospice care anywhere – home, hospital, or facility. Many do choose to have hospice care in their homes.
Myth #5 – Hospice costs an arm and a leg
Those who are covered by Medicare usually pay little or nothing for hospice. Most insurance plans, HMOs, and managed care plans also include coverage for hospice care.
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Amara Hospice