Get the Truth About Hospice Care: Don’t Believe These 5 Myths

hospice care

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.


You might also like:
Don’t Be Afraid: Hospice Care Isn’t a Death Sentence
Make Sure End-of-Life Wishes Are Honored with a POLST
5 Myths about Dying


By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Amara Hospice


  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Kathy adkins

    My sister&brother-law both had hospice was wonder people there.both died in hosiptal

    • Reply December 15, 2017


      I’m so sorry for your losses 💔 It’s great that you had a wonderful experience with hospice.

  • Reply May 19, 2017

    dallas gulseth

    does hospice have any care for dimensia

    • Reply May 19, 2017


      You’d need to ask your specific hospice provider if they have staff who are trained in dementia care.

  • Reply May 13, 2017

    Audrey Dertinger

    My mom gets hospice in our home. At first I thought that mom was declining very fast and that is why they brought hospice up to begin with. But that is definitely not the case. Hospice had been wonderful and the people involved in moms care. Thier is so many great things to make mom comfortable. She has been in for nearly 6 months . Since she is doing so well she will go back to palative care.
    If there is a decline again she will be evaluated again.
    Also having an elder coach from AARP has been a lifesaver because you need support for yourself. God Bless .

    • Reply May 13, 2017


      That’s wonderful! It’s great that your mom is doing so well and able to “graduate” from hospice. It sounds like the support you’re getting is fantastic 🙂

  • Reply May 13, 2017

    Karen A Billingsley

    My mom had 3 years of hospice care while at home. I moved in to take care of her and a hospice nurse came twice a week, an aide came twice a week. There was a social worker available and a chaplain if we needed them. They even provided a wonderful volunteer who came 1 afternoon a week so I could go out and get groceries and run other errands. She became like a member of the family. It was all paid for by Medicare – meds, oxygen, wheelchair, shower chair, walker, everything. It was a godsend for mom as she would have never had the money to pay for her meds (27 of them a day) let alone the other things she needed. While it was a long terrible time to see my mom so ill, it was made so much better by the hospice team.

    • Reply May 13, 2017


      I’m so happy to hear that you had a wonderful experience with hospice and that they made such a difference in your mom’s care. It’s a huge benefit that you got so much support too ❤️ Even better that it was all covered by Medicare!

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