Myths and Truths of Hospice Care
Myth: You must have cancer to be enrolled in hospice.
Truth: Family Hospice cares for ANY person of ANY age who, if his/her condition follows its natural course would have an estimated life expectancy of 6 months or less. Here are some conditions considered for hospice:
- Multiple chronic health conditions with:
Unexplained weight loss 10% or greater in the past four months
or Frequent hospitalizations or Emergency Room visits
- Decrease in physical activity or cognitive ability (dementia/Alzheimer’s)
- Adult failure to thrive or decline in status
- End-stage heart disease
- Respiratory disease or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Myth: You need to have advance directives/DNR.
Truth: Enrollment in hospice care does not require a patient to have advance directives/DNR. Family Hospice honors the wishes of patients and their families when end-of-life-care is necessary, and our team can help patients formulate advance directives if they desire to do so but have not yet done it.
Myth: You need to have a caregiver 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
Truth: Hospice care is open to any person diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. Patients are not required to have a permanent caregiver. In fact, Family Hospice Aides assist with tasks like bathing and dressing. Family Hospice volunteers are the heart of hospice and spend time with patients reading, talking or just being a comforting presence.
Myth: Hospice is where you go when there is “nothing else to be done.”
Truth: With Family Hospice, there is so much more that can be done – more for the patient and more for the family. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death. Hospice affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. Research has shown that patients on hospice care actually live longer than those facing life-limiting illnesses without hospice. With the appropriate care plan and specially-trained and compassionate individuals to support the patient and family, time and attention can be focused on the interests and preferences that matter most – and ultimately define – a quality of life.
Myth: You can’t keep your own doctor if you enter hospice.
Truth: Family Hospice encourages patients to keep their own physicians when they enrolled in hospice care. With a dedicated, 24/7 hospice team, we work closely with your healthcare provider and help to reinforce the primary physician/patient relationship while determining the best plan of care.
Myth: Hospice care helps the patient only.
Truth: Family Hospice benefits both the patient and his/her family/caregivers. Patients and their families are included in the decision-making process and bereavement counseling is provided to the family for 13 months after the death of their loved one. Upon request, Family Hospice Spiritual Counselors assist the patient and family with the emotional and spiritual aspects of end-of-life. Our hospice volunteers support patients and their families by assisting with daily activities to enhance the quality of life for patients and help relieve some of the demands that are often placed on caregivers.