Common Misconceptions About Hospice Care – What You Need To Know

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    Senior woman sits with nurse making notes at retirement home

    There are many misconceptions about hospice care. Some people believe that it is only for people close to death, while others believe it is a type of nursing home. In reality, it’s a type of palliative care offered to terminally ill people. It relieves the symptoms and stress of illness, and supports patients and their families during the final stages of life. Many people are unaware that it’s an option because they have not been told about it by their doctors or have not known anyone who has been in there. Here are some of the most commonly held misconceptions about this care.

    1. Choosing It is Giving Up

    One of the most common misconceptions about this care is its giving up. This could not be further from the truth. When patients choose to receive this care, they focus on the quality of life rather than quantity. It’s not about prolonging life but making the most of the time that a patient has left. Patients who receive this care can still receive treatment for their illness, but the focus is on comfort rather than cure. The teams work with patients and their families to ensure they are as comfortable as possible and have all their needs met.

    2. Patients Cannot Discontinue This Care Once Started

    Another common misconception about this care is that patients cannot discontinue care once they have started. This is not true. Patients and their families are always in control of their care and can discontinue this care anytime. If a patient’s condition improves or they no longer wish to receive it, they can tell the team, and care will be discontinued. In addition, if a patient’s condition deteriorates and requires more aggressive treatment, they can discontinue this care and receive treatment elsewhere. This misconception is often because many believe that this care is only for those close to death.

    3. Patients Suffer in this Care

    Many people do not choose this care because they believe that patients will suffer. This is not true. Hospice teams are experts in managing pain and other symptoms and work to ensure that patients are as comfortable as possible. Many patients report that they feel better after starting this care. This is because they are no longer focused on their illness and can spend time with their loved ones and do the things they enjoy. According to experts, “It involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the person’s needs and wishes. Support is provided to the family as well.”

    4. It Must be Recommended by a Doctor

    Many people believe that a doctor must recommend hospice to receive care. This is not true. While the teams work closely with doctors, patients and their families can choose to receive without a doctor’s recommendation. Patients and their families are always in control of their care, and they can choose to start or discontinue this care at any time. According to California hospice care, you should choose it when you’re no longer interested in active treatment to cure your disease. You may also opt for it if your doctor believes that further medical treatment would only prolong the dying process.

    5. Patients Can’t See Their Doctor if They Are in Hospice

    Patients in this care can see their doctor as often or as infrequently as they like. Many people mistakenly believe that because patients are in this care, they can only make one visit to their doctor per month, and if they miss a visit it will be rescheduled for the next month. In reality, most doctors understand that this care is not only medical treatment but also emotional support for patients and family members. For this reason, many allow visits to go wanting without penalty. California hospice care states that it is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurance plans. This means that patients can receive this care without worrying about the cost.

    6. It’s Only for Cancer Patients

    Although many people believe that this care is only for cancer patients, it is offered to people with all types of life-limiting illnesses. Heart failure, liver failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are just a few other conditions that may require a patient to be in this care. Recently, children who have life-threatening or terminal diseases have been included in hospice programs. In addition, patients with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain are also eligible for this care. Always consult with your doctor to have these hospice benefits explained in more detail.

    7. It’s Expensive

    One of the most common misconceptions about this care is that it costs too much. This is not true. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans cover this up to 100 percent once the patient’s physician has certified them as terminally ill. Patients with any health insurance can receive this care without paying a dime out-of-pocket for their services. In addition to financial assistance provided by insurance companies, it’s also offered by community-based programs. Most hospices provide basic services to patients at no charge, while additional services may come with a small co-pay.

    8. It’s Only for the Patient

    One of the most important aspects of this care is that it supports the patient, family members, and caregivers. The team is comprised of various professionals, including nurses, doctors, social workers, counselors, home health aides, and clergy members. These team members work together to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support to patients and their families. They also offer respite care, which gives caregivers a much-needed break from their duties. It’s designed to support everyone involved in the patient’s life, not just the patient.

    These are just a few of the most common misconceptions about this care. Many hospice expectations are based on misinformation and false assumptions. It’s a wonderful resource for terminally ill patients and their families, and it’s essential to understand what it is and how it can help you and your loved ones. If you or someone you know is facing a terminal illness, talk to your doctor about this care and see if it’s the right option.