In a two-part series, we will explore the misconceptions about end-of-life care that sometimes create barriers to preventing eligible patients from receiving hospice care.
Myth #1: Hospice is a place.
Hospice is actually a philosophy regarding end-of-life care. The plan of care includes methods for treating a patient’s mind, body and spirit. Hospice care focuses on improving quality of life by controlling pain and managing symptoms when a cure is no longer possible. Support also extends to family members dealing with the disease process by providing grief and bereavement services. Care is delivered in whatever setting is best for the patient and family. That may be in their private residence, a loved one’s home, a senior living community or a specialized Inpatient Hospice Center like our own Halcyon House in Atlanta.
Myth #2: Hospice is only for cancer patients.
This is another popular myth. People often believe hospice is only for cancer patients or for the elderly. The truth is that if a physician believes that a patient’s life expectancy is less than six months, various illnesses may qualify for hospice. Our team of clinical leaders will work with the physicians to make sure the patient meets the criteria established for each diagnosis. For diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Congestive Heart Failure, that may be more difficult to establish. A hospice care team member can often help families and physicians make that determination.
Myth #3: To sign on for hospice, a patient must be “ready to die.”
Hospice doesn’t require a patient to accept that they are dying. In fact, a large part of what we do at hospice is support patients and families as they begin to understand and accept that curative treatments are no longer an option. We help them to reclaim their days and enjoy the best quality of life for the rest of their life – however long that may be.
Later in April we will tackle three more myths about hospice. If you sign up for the RSS updates on our blog, you will receive our newly published blog posts automatically. Don’t miss the next installment of the Halcyon MythBusters Series!