There are a lot of misconceptions about hospice care and many times people miss out on important care they and their families could be receiving because of them. No matter what you’ve heard, hospice is all about providing care and comfort for both patients and their family. A recent study demonstrated that family members are more satisfied with a loved one’s end of life care if they receive hospice services, with 80% of families surveyed saying their love one’s end of life wishes were followed. The focus of hospice is improving or maintaining the highest quality of life through emotional, spiritual and physical support. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s (NHPCO) 2015 report “Hospice Care in America,” 1.6 to 1.7 million people received hospice care in 2014.
In an effort to clear up the misconceptions, here are 6 things we think you really should know about hospice care and what it can do not only for the patient but also their family caregivers.
Choosing Hospice Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Hope
Based on the 1.2 million search results for “hospice is giving up," it’s not surprising why so many people believe this to be true. Hospice care is not giving up. Instead, hospice services are there to provide comfort and improve quality of life and to help carry out the wishes of the patient.
Hospice Is A Helper For Family Caregivers
Many families, especially among ethnic communities, adopt the idea that only family can take proper care of family. They can often see hospice caregivers as interlopers rather than partners in caring for their loved ones. Hospice care is meant to be a support not only for the patient but also for the family caregivers. In fact hospice care doesn’t end at the moment of death, the hospice team continues to walk beside the family for at least a year following the death of their loved one, providing services such as grief counseling, spiritual support, and more. Bereavement support is an important part of hospice services. The NHPCO report shows that 91.6% of hospice agencies offer bereavement support to community members.
You Don’t Have to Wait Until The Very End To Choose Hospice Care
Hospice care can begin when the patient’s physician gives a prognosis of six months or less if the disease follows the expected course. Hospice often provides such comfort and support that many outlive their expected prognosis. While the majority of hospice patients do pass away during hospice care, the truth is, hospice care does not speed up death. In fact, those who employ hospice care may live longer than those who choose not to use hospice services. While a patient is referred to hospice care when a doctor’s prognosis is six months or less, if the patient lives longer, hospice care can absolutely continue past that six month mark.
You Can Receive Hospice Care At Home
Another common myth is that you must “go to hospice.” This is not the case. Hospice care can often times be administered at home. In fact, most hospice patients tend to prefer receiving care at home. Hospice is a philosophy of care and can be received wherever the patient and their loved ones prefer.
You Can Afford Hospice Care
Hospice care is covered under the Medicare hospice benefit, Medicaid and most private insurance plans. That being said, you are NOT REQUIRED to have Medicare or Medicaid in order to receive hospice care. There are many different payment options available for hospice care.
Not All Hospice Providers Are The Same
Hospice programs must follow a set of rules and regulations determined by the state, however support services may differ. It is important to find one that offers the right care. Since the addition of hospice to the Freudenthal family of care services, we now can give you access to a full continuum of services to match the individual needs of our patients and their families. With access to our in-home services, family caregivers can find the support they need to carry out their daily activities while knowing their loved one is being cared for right in their own home.
If you have any other questions about hospice, please don’t hesitate to call us at 816-676-8050. We are here to help and support family caregivers, especially during these times of transition.