Dispelling Hospice Myths

Adapted from American Hospice Association

Myth #1: Hospice is a place.

Hospice care takes place wherever the need exists – usually this is in the patient's home but sometimes it is in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Myth # 2: Hospice is only for people with cancer.

More than one-half of our hospice patients have diagnoses other than cancer. Hospice can provide care for people with the end-stages of many chronic diseases, like emphysema, Alzheimer's cardiovascular and neuromuscular diseases.

Myth #3: Hospice is only for old people.

Although the majority of hospice patients are older, our hospice serves adult patients from 18 to 106 or beyond. Almost 20% of hospice patients nationwide are under 65 years of age.

Myth #4: Hospice is only for dying people.

As a family-centered concept of care, hospice focuses as much on the family as on the patient. Hospice understands that how a patient is feeling and coping affects his/her family and how the family is feeling and coping affects the patient.

Myth #5: Hospice is for when there is no hope.

When death is in sight, there are two options: submit without hope or live life as fully as ever until the end. The gift of hospice is its capacity to help families see how much can be shared at the end of life through personal and spiritual connections often left behind. It is no wonder that many family members can look back upon their hospice experience with gratitude, and with the knowledge that everything possible was done towards a peaceful death. Hospice is about how you live.

Myth #6: Hospice is for people who don't need a high level of care.

Hospice is serious medicine and extraordinary care. Our hospice is Medicare-certified and CHAP accredited. We employ experienced medical, social work, counseling and nursing personnel with high-level skills in symptom control and disease processes.

Myth #7: Hospice is only for people who can accept death.

While those affected by terminal illness struggle to come to terms with death, hospice gently helps them find their way at their own speed. Our hospice welcomes inquiries from families who are unsure about their needs and preferences. Our staff is readily available to discuss all options and to facilitate family decisions.

Myth # 8: Hospice care is expensive.

Most people who use hospice are entitled to the Medicare Hospice Benefit. This benefit covers virtually all hospice services and requires little, if any, out-of-pocket costs. This means that there are no financial burdens incurred by the family, in sharp contrast to the huge financial expenses at the end of life which may be incurred when hospice is not used. Many insurances and managed care organizations also have Hospice benefits and our hospice staff will help you to understand what payment sources are available to you.

Myth # 9: Hospice can only help when family members are available to provide care.

Recognizing that terminally ill people may live alone, or with family members unable to provide care, our hospice will assist with the coordination of community resources to make home care possible or they may help you to find an alternative location where the patient can safely receive care.

Myth # 10: Hospice will hasten death.

Hospice seeks to neither hasten death nor prolong life. Our hospice’s focus is on comfort and quality of life throughout the end stages of terminal illness for however long a person lives.