Myth: Medicare, Medicaid or other private insurances provide only six months of hospice care, so delay enrollment as long as possible.
Fact: Federal law does not time-limit the hospice benefit. Patients may enroll when their physician determines that the illness is terminal, with an estimated life-expectancy of six months or less.
Myth: All hospice care is the same.
Fact: Even in the same community, hospices may vary markedly, especially in the kinds of treatment patients can receive.
Myth: Hospice means giving up hope.
Fact: Hospice caregivers recognize the importance of hope as a powerful and ever-changing force that continues throughout life and through the dying process. Hospice offers hope that a secure and familiar care setting can be enjoyed. Hospice offers hope for personal dignity and freedom from unhelpful, and sometimes painful or uncomfortable procedures. Hospice offers hope for freedom from the fears of isolation, abandonment, loneliness, loss of control and physical pain; hope that the family will be nurtured and supported, even after the death of a patient.
Myth: Hospice staff help people die.
Fact: The hospice staff does nothing to hasten death or prolong life. The goal of hospice care is to alleviate suffering and promote quality of life for the remainder of the patient’s life.
Myth: Hospice only treats patients with severe pain.
Fact: Hospice care is designed to provide not only medical care but also social, psychological, and spiritual support provided by an interdisciplinary team that includes nurses, social workers, chaplains, and other professionals.
Myth: You can't keep your own doctor while in hospice.
Fact: If the patient wishes to keep his or her own doctor after admission to hospice, the hospice medical director will work hand in hand with the patient’s own physician to arrive at a plan of care that is best suited to the patient’s individual needs and wishes.
Myth: Hospice is only for cancer patients.
Fact: Hospice care is available to any person with an advanced terminal illness.
Myth: Hospice is only for the sick family member.
Fact: Hospice is designed to support all family members during the illness and to offer at least one year of bereavement support after a death.
Myth: Hospice care takes place in a facility, so you must leave home to receive hospice.
Fact: In America, most hospice care is delivered in the patient’s home. Inpatient care is available in hospitals and nursing homes to serve those with no at-home caregiver, and those whose care is overwhelming to families.
Myth: Hospice is expensive.
Fact: In general, hospice costs less than hospital or nursing home care. With Hospice, Medicare saves $1.62 for every dollar spent on medical care in the last 6 months of life.