Don’t Be Afraid: Hospice Care Isn’t a Death Sentence

hospice care

Hospice doesn’t mean you’re giving up on your senior

The biggest myth around hospice care is that it means the family has given up on their older adult. Many people think that hospice care is only for people who are expected to pass away within days or weeks. That’s not true at all.

Hospice is a type of medical care where the goal is to maintain or improve quality of life for someone whose illness, disease, or condition is unlikely to be cured – and remember, there’s no cure for aging yet!

Hospice addresses all symptoms of a disease, but has a special focus on controlling pain and discomfort. It’s also focused on providing comfort and support to both patients and families.


Hospice doesn’t speed up death

It’s important to know that people who use hospice care don’t die faster. In some cases, patients in hospice may actually live longer because their quality of life has improved.

The main difference between hospice and “regular” medical care is that the focus is no longer on “curing” your senior. But realistically, many curative treatments are carry high risks for older adults, aren’t as likely to succeed, and simply cause unnecessary suffering.


It’s NOT a 6 month death sentence

To be eligible for hospice, a doctor certifies that the patient may not live beyond 6 months. Don’t let that freak you out. It’s absolutely not the same as the doctor saying they’ll definitely die within 6 months.

Qualifying for hospice is NOT a 6 month death sentence. It just means that every 6 months, your older adult will need to be reevaluated to see if they’re still eligible to stay in hospice or not. In some cases, seniors don’t continue hospice care because they became too well to qualify.


Who would benefit from hospice?

Hospice programs are great for people in advanced stages of non-curable illness, very frail, or extremely aged.

Under hospice, doctors and nurses come to you. They coordinate treatments so your older adult can feel as good as possible. This is a huge help for those who are too frail or ill to go to the doctor’s office.


Hospice helps caregivers too!

Hospice offers families much more support than they get under traditional medical care.

Families benefit from:

  • Hospice professionals on call 24 hours every day
  • No need to go to the doctor’s office, nurses visit the home
  • Families get help with bathing and other personal care tasks
  • Reduced costs – typically, hospice care is less expensive than hospital stays or ER visits
  • Family guidance, support, and grief counseling are available


How to get hospice care

Talk with your senior’s doctor to see if hospice could benefit them.

If it’s not a good option for your older adult at this time, let the doctor know that you’re open to discussing it when the time is right. That way, they’ll know that it’s something you’d like to learn about and might consider.


You might also like:
5 Myths About Hospice Care
5 Ways to Improve Quality of Life for Seniors
Better Senior Health from Improved Doctor Visits


By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Sources: Hospice Foundation of America,
Image: Regional Hospice

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