What is Hospice Care?
Hospice care is special care that focuses on the quality of life of a patient suffering from an advanced stage, life-liming disease. This type of care provides people with compassionate care in the last stage of an incurable disease to make their remaining life fully and as comfortable as possible.
Hospice care starts when a patient decides to end the curative treatment and it is clear that the patient won’t survive long. In hospice care, doctors give you medications to manage your symptoms and provide pain relief.
There are many misconceptions regarding Hospice care in society.
- Misconception-Getting Hospice care means giving up on life.
Many people think that starting with Hospice care means giving up on life.
Fact– The fact is that Hospice care is not about death, it is about living your life to the fullest in the time you have left. Many research also shows that people with life-liming illnesses who choose Hospice care often live longer and have a better quality of life than those who choose aggressive medical treatment.
- Misconception-Hospice care is very expensive
It is a myth that Hospice care is an expensive concept and a normal medical expense.
Fact- Hospice care is a fully Medicare benefit. It is covered by many private insurance companies and is of unlimited length. Generally, the plan includes, equipment required, supplies, medications, and visits with no actual pocket expenses to the patient. It also includes visits from nurses, health care providers, and doctors.
- Misconception- Once you decide to take Hospice care and apply for it, you can’t go back
Fact- You can decide to return to your medical treatment whenever you want. There is no compulsion to stay in Hospice care if you wish to go back to the curative medical treatments. It is possible that your medical condition changes and you wish to go back to curative treatment and when you decide you sure can do it.
- Misconception- Choosing Hospice care means giving up control
Fact- In the span of Hospice care you are in full control. You can choose when to opt for Hospice care and if you want to, you can change it. Patients and family members get to decide on everything like when to start and who should provide care. No one else will be deciding these things for you.
- Misconception- You have to take Hospice care either at the hospital or at a hospice facility
Fact- Hospice care can be given anywhere. The motive of hospice care is to make the patient comfortable if the patient is comfortable around his/her family and loved ones, he/she can get hospice care at home. Hospice care can also be given at a nursing home or living facility or a hospital.
- Misconception- Only a doctor refers to hospice care
Fact- Anyone can make a referral to hospice care. You can get references from a doctor, family member, nurses, or any other people.
- Misconception- Only people who have left a few days or a few weeks to live can opt for hospice care.
Fact- Generally hospice care can be started when you have 6 months or less left to live. It can be extended. In hospice care, doctors give you medications to manage your symptoms. The full benefit of it is when pain and other symptoms are managed and patients get to live the rest of their lives fullest and make connections with people.
- Misconception- Hospice care ends when a patient dies
Fact- Grief support is an important part of Hospice care. In some places, families are offered one year of grief support.
- Misconception- Hospice care is for patients only suffering from cancer
Fact- Hospice care is for any patient of any age who has 6 months or less to live. It’s not limited to patients having cancer. Patients having lung disease, heart disease, dementia, stroke, come, etc can also have Hospice care.
- Misconception-Hospice and Palliative care are the same
Fact- Both Hospice and Palliative care provide comfort care during a serious disease. Palliative care begins with the diagnosis and can happen simultaneously with curating treatment. Whereas Hospice care starts when patients decide to end the curative treatment, and it’s clear that the patient will not survive.