163034910Earlier in the month we opened up the discussion with the most common hospice myths that can form barriers to qualified patients receiving care. This week we conclude our 2-part series with three additional hospice myths.

Myth #4: Hospice Over-medicates Patients

This is a popular and persistent myth, even in the medical community. At the core of this myth is the belief that hospice is giving a patient too much morphine and it is causing them to sleep all of the time. While one of the goals of hospice is to manage pain and symptoms, overmedicating a patient isn’t a part of the plan. Most often it is the disease rather than the medication that is making the patient sleep so much. Hospice chaplains and social workers can be called on to educate and support the family as they accept this difficult reality.

Myth #5: Hospice is only for the Last Few Days of Life

There is often reluctance on the part of family members to accept that hospice should be considered for their loved one. Part of that struggle comes from the belief that hospice means giving up and their loved one will only live for a few days after hospice begins. Contrarily, studies indicate that patients in fact live longer with hospice than without.  Actually, beginning hospice care at the onset of diagnosis helps the patient as well as the family fully benefit from the emotional, spiritual and physical care hospice provides.

Myth #6: Patients Must Give Up Their Physician to Receive Hospice

Hospice will continue to work with a patient’s family physician if that is the patient’s wish. The family physician can be as involved as they wish to be in their patient’s plan of care for hospice. That includes everything from just receiving patient updates to be actively involved and going on home visits.

We hope our Hospice Mythbuster series has helped you gain better insight to this wonderful benefit for patients. If you have questions about a loved one you think could benefit from hospice, contact us. If you would like to learn more about the hospice Medicare benefit,  the official Medicare site has very comprehensive information online.