Busting the Myths of Hospice Care — Family Caregiver Quick Tip

Too many people are not getting the full advantage of all that hospice has to give to those at the end of life and their caregivers.

The myths surrounding hospice care are obstacles for many, so during National Hospice and Palliative Care Month we will bust some of those myths!

Hospice care is about improving a person’s quality of life as the end of life approaches.

The goal is dignity and comfort and it is a team approach between the person receiving care, the family caregivers and the hospice team — a caring, not curing, approach.

It is important that family members are able to spend as much quality time together with the help of hospice caregivers.

Myths of Hospice — Plus the Facts

There are many hospice myths from years ago that many people still believe to be true.

Here are just a few of them and the facts of how hospice works now:

MYTH: You have to have cancer to be on hospice.

FACT: Any terminal or end-stage diagnosis including COPD, dementia, kidney disease, AIDS, heart disease, etc. can be qualifying for hospice care.

MYTH: You have to go to a hospice house to get care.

FACT: You can receive hospice care in any setting you choose including home, nursing home, hospital, assisted living facility or hospice house.

MYTH: Pain medications given in hospice will kill you.

FACT: Hospice care entails a multitude of comfort measures including pain control, wound care, nursing care, emotional and spiritual support, and nutritional interventions. These techniques don’t hasn’t death but provide a more dignified end of life.

MYTH: You are allowed to starve on hospice.

FACT: All efforts are made through the use of nutrition and hydration for comfort to meet the needs of the person under hospice care as determined by the hospice team and family caregivers.

MYTH: Hospice care is expensive.

FACT: Hospice care is a benefit of Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies. Your senior will not be denied hospice care based on finances if they meet hospice care criteria.

Hospice care helps not only the person at the end of life but also family members by providing emotional support during care and as much as eighteen months afterwards through their bereavement program.

Many people wait too long to gain the benefits of hospice, so if you think your senior would benefit, contact your healthcare provider for a referral or contact a preferred hospice company to seek more information.

Don’t let the myths deny your senior loved one — and the entire family — the benefits of hospice care.

Tips to Know If Hospice is Right for Your Senior Loved One

Your senior loved one might be ready for hospice care if these conditions are present:

  1. They have been diagnosed with a serious illness with a life expectancy of 6 months or less.
  2. Comfort care and symptom management are the desire of your senior loved one.
  3. Curative treatment is no longer possible or it is no longer your senior’s choice.

Talking about hospice and whether this is an option your senior wishes to consider when the times comes is a discussion that is best to have before a terminal diagnosis occurs.

Additional Resources

Here are some more in-depth articles to help you learn more about hospice and palliative care and how it might help your family members.