10 Myths About Hospice

1. Patients need to be imminently dying to be admitted to Hospice.

FALSE:   Hospice care is most beneficial when there is sufficient time to manage symptoms and establish a trusting relationship.

2. Hospice only serves patients with cancer.

FALSE:  Hospice is also appropriate for patients with end-stage respiratory, cardiac, liver, renal, and neurological diseases.

3. There is a strict limit on length of Hospice services.

FALSE:  Although the physician is asked to certify a prognosis of six months or less,  there is, in fact, no limit to the length of Hospice services.  Should a patient stabilize over many months, or should there be a change in the goals of the plan of care, a patient may be discharged from Hospice.  A patient may choose to discontinue Hospice services at any time or for any reason.

4. Hospice patients are served only in their own homes.

FALSE:  While most patients choose to receive services at home, Family Hospice also cares for patients in long-term care nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and other congregate living facilities.

5. Hospice patients may not be hospitalized.

FALSE:  Patients may be admitted to the hospital for symptom control if required.  Extended hours of in-home skilled nursing care are also available

6.Hospice means giving up “hope”.

FALSE:  “Hope” never goes away.  When the hope for cure is no longer possible,  the hope for living each day to the fullest becomes the focus.

7. Hospice is “depressing”.  I don’t want to talk about death and dying.

FALSE:  The Family Hospice staff is friendly, caring and sensitive to your needs.  We emphasize  life and living.  Our staff does not force any kind of conversation.

8. Patients must be homebound to qualify for Hospice.

FALSE:  Many Family Hospice patients are able to continue an active lifestyle including visiting friends and family, and pursuing meaningful interests and activities.

9. Hospice services are expensive.

FALSE:  Medicare and Medicaid offer a Hospice Benefit under which Hospice services are covered 100%.  Most medications, oxygen, and equipment for comfort and safety are also paid for.  In addition, many commercial health plans now offer a Hospice Benefit as well.  This benefit covers virtually all aspects of Hospice care with little out-of-pocket expense to the patient or family.  As a result, the financial burdens usually associated with caring for a terminally ill patient are minimal.  In addition, Medicare will continue to pay for covered benefits for any other unrelated health issues outside of your Hospice plan of care. 

10. Patients are required to sign a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order.

FALSE:  You are not required to sign a DNR order for admission to Family   Hospice.  We appreciate how difficult it is to make the decision about resuscitation.  Family Hospice staff are available to assist the patient and family with end of life decision making and, if desired, with the preparation of advanced directives such as a Living Will, 5 Wishes, or an Allow Natural Death (formerly DNR) declaration. 

Thank you for visiting Family Hospice!