Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service (Hospice & Palliative Care)
Myths and Facts About Hospice Care
There are many myths about hospice, and until you experience it for yourself, or someone close to you does, you may not understand how beneficial hospice care is for those facing the end-of-life. In fact, 99% of patients enrolled in hospice say they would have enrolled sooner if they had known all of its benefits. Following are some common myths and clarifying facts about Hospice care.
- Myth: Once a patient begins Hospice care, contact with his or her regular physician ends.
Fact: Hospice programs consider the patient’s primary physician to be a vital link between the patient and the team providing hospice care. The hospice medical director, nurse, home health aide, social worker, chaplain, and volunteer all work with the patient’s primary physician and the patient to develop the optimum treatment plan for the patient and his or her family.
- Myth: A referral to hospice is only appropriate when death is very near.
Fact: Patients and their families benefit more if they begin hospice earlier – during the final weeks or months of life – while the issues of advance directives, spiritual concerns, or financial and other matters important to the patient and family can be appropriately addressed by caring hospice professional staff.
- Myth: If a patient opts out of hospice, they can never have hospice services again.
Fact: There is unlimited, lifetime access to hospice care under the Medicare and Medicaid hospice benefits. As long as a patient meets the criteria for hospice care, that care will be available to her/him. This is true for Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances.
- Myth: Hospice is only for cancer patients.
Fact: Hospice services are for patients with any life-limiting illness. Examples include lung, kidney, liver, heart and neurological diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Myth: Hospice is about dying.
Fact: Hospice recognizes dying as a natural part of the living process and focuses on maintaining the quality of remaining life. It is a choice that empowers patients to live out their days with dignity and comfort while involving their families and loved ones in giving care.
- Myth: Hospice ends when the patient dies.
Fact: Hospice of VNS offers bereavement services by qualified professionals for the family for up to two years following the death of a loved one.
- Myth: Families have to pay for hospice care out-of-pocket.
Fact: Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies offer hospice benefits which provide medications, oxygen, dressing supplies, and medical equipment necessary for the life limiting condition that the patient has. Additionally, nursing, social work, home care aides, and spiritual services are provided.
- Myth: I have to leave my residence to receive hospice care.
Fact: Hospice care is provided in patient homes, whether that is a private home, a retirement community or a nursing home. The Hospice of VNS Care Center is available upon request for patients needing acute symptom management that otherwise cannot occur in the patient’s home. One goal of hospice is for the patient to receive care in the setting desired by the patient and family.
If you are considering whether it is time for hospice, please call Hospice and Palliative Care of VNS at 330-665-1455 or 1-800-335-1455 or speak to your physician about hospice care.
Date Updated: 20-MAR-2015