The first time I heard the word hospice I thought I knew what it meant, looking back, the truth is I had no clue. The first misconception I had was that hospice was a place or a building, the second was that everyone on hospice dies within a few days. I thought that people (and their families) in hospice need to give up hope. A third misconception was that hospice is expensive, and the fourth was that you can’t discharge from hospice once you start. I began my journey in end-of-life care as a vigil volunteer with patients at bedside during their last hours of life. This is a journey now that has me as CEO of SilverStone Hospice, and I can assure you none of the above is correct.
Here’s a truth: Hospice has been proven to prolong life for patients who receive these services early enough in their diagnosis, as they tend to receive better care. At SilverStone, we see plenty of these cases.
Here’s another truth: When is the best time for Hospice? As soon as you are eligible, as soon as a doctor makes the suggestion. The sooner you do it, the more comfortable your journey with a terminal disease will be, and the longer you live.
Here please find what our team has found are the top hospice myths needing urgent debunking:
The Top 10 Hospice Myths
Myth #1: Hospice is a Place.
Hospice is not a place, but, a service and philosophy of care. Wherever a patient calls home is where hospice care is provided: residence, assisted living facility, nursing home, inpatient facility (hospice house), or hospital.
Myth #2: Hospice Patients Cannot Live Longer Than Six Months.
Once an individual becomes a hospice patient, he or she continues to receive services for as long as they are required and appropriate. Hospice services are NOT discontinued unless they are no longer necessary or appropriate, or the patient chooses to stop them. If a patient makes this decision, a revocation form is signed and the patient leaves hospice care.
Myth #3: Hospice Care is Only for People With Cancer or Those Who Are Bedridden or Extremely Ill.
Although many patients do have cancer, hospice serves terminally ill patients of all ages, with all types of terminal diseases. Many of our patients are able to enjoy life as much as they did before their diagnoses.
This fact is especially true if care is accessed early in their illness. Our patients are seen by trained healthcare professionals who can address their medical, emotional and spiritual needs and support family members.
Myth #4: Hospice Care is Expensive.
Hospice care is less expensive than care provided in a traditional medical setting. Additionally, Medicare, Medicaid, and most other insurances cover 100% of the cost of hospice care.
Myth #5: Hospice is For Patients Who Do Not Need a High Level of Care.
End-of-life care is extremely complex. The interdisciplinary team at SilverStone Hospice is composed of specially trained physicians, nurses, aides, and pharmacists who can provide comprehensive medical care. Their efforts are complemented by social workers, chaplains, and volunteers who offer a full range of support services, which help the entire family.
Myth #6: Hospice Patients Require a “Do Not Resuscitate” Status Prior to Admission.
At SilverStone Hospice, we acknowledge and respect the end-of-life choices that our patients and families make. Therefore, we do NOT require “Do Not Resuscitate” status for admission.
Myth #7: Hospice Requires Family Members to Provide Care to Patients.
In many instances, our staff trains family members to assist in the care of their loved ones. Family members can call our 24-hour nursing help hotline for assistance. In cases where the patient lives alone or family members are unable to assist with care, the SilverStone Hospice helps. We position ourselves to be an extension of your family and care for your loved one.
Myth #8: Hospice Means “Nothing More Can Be Done.”
Hospice is not about giving up hope when a cure is no longer an option. There is still a great deal that can be done to control symptoms, provide care, comfort, and support. Hospice has been proven to prolong life for patients who receive these services early enough in their diagnosis because they tend to receive better care.
Myth #9: Hospice is Just for the Patient.
SilverStone Hospice focuses on providing comfort, dignity, and emotional support to the patient and their loved ones. Quality of life for all concerned is our highest priority. We are with you and beside you every step of the way.
Myth #10: Once You Go to Hospice, You Cannot Change Your Mind or Seek a Cure.
Hospice patients always have the right to return to medical care that focuses on curing their disease at any time and for any reason. If a condition improves or the disease goes into remission, a patient can be discharged from hospice and go back to aggressive, curative measures. This is all based on patient choice. If a discharged patient wants to return to hospice care at a later date, Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance companies will allow readmission.
These outlined myths are just a few of the many misconceptions regarding hospice care. Our interdisciplinary team at SilverStone is well-versed in openly discussing end-of-life wishes and can assist in developing individualized plans to meet patients’ needs and desires. Feel free to call us at 214-954-7285, one of our care specialists will be happy to ensure you are not alone when exploring care choices, we’ll be with you every step of the way.