It is National Hospice Month, and I thought that it would be a great opportunity to debunk five myths about hospice care, an aspect of health care that is always on the radar of a geriatric care manager. A lot of folks think of hospice care right up there with a funeral home. While that may be partially true, it is really critical for every caregiver or anyone who has an older parent or aging spouse with terminal issues to recognize that hospice care is really about taking care of quality of life. So, please allow me to walk you through the five common notions people have about hospice care… and the real deal.
1. Hospice is where people are sent when they have no options.
Hospice is where one turns when they want something more than just letting things run their course. It is about a “comfort-oriented” approach to care. Think of it as another mode of therapy… and yes, it may be more appropriate when one has a terminal condition. But, it is not about giving up… it is about taking care of the patient and making life more comfortable.
2. Hospice is for families that are letting go… keeping separate from a patient.
Actually, if family members can experience the dying of a loved one in a caring setting with staff that support both the patient and those in the patient’s orbit, it can really help bridge the gap between what was and what will be.
3. Hospice care is expensive.
There have been studies that show that hospice care is no more expensive than other treatment settings, and it commonly is less expensive than a hospital setting. If you check into what a private insurer will cover, you likely will find that it covers what Medicare and Medicaid do not. It will not be all… but it will help.
4. Hospice is where you have to “check your doctor at the door.”
Hospice physicians will work with your loved one’s physician. It is the hospice in anaheim last phase of “care coordination,” and a patient benefits from continuity of care.
5. Hospice is where “you go to die.”
While hospice care is about the end stage, it does not have to be “there.” Hospice care can come to the home of your loved one to offer palliative care. Helping the person who is facing life’s end to be more comfortable, to address the discomfort, is something that can be done in the home. Everyone can be present in the place that is most comfortable.