Myths About Hospice

Setting the Record Straight: Commonly Held Myths about Hospice Care

Each year, hospices across the nation serve more than a million individuals and families coping with a life-limiting illness. Still, there are many commonly held misconceptions regarding the nature of hospice care.

Hospice of the Rock River Valley advocates continued education and community awareness regarding the unique needs people face during the final season of their lives. We encourage people to contact us for further information. The following explains the real answers behind some myths:

Myth: Hospice is only for people with cancer.
Reality: Anyone coping with a life-limiting illness can receive hospice care, including those diagnosed with heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease, liver or lung disease, kidney failure and dementia.
Myth: Only a physician can make a referral to hospice.
Reality: Anyone, including an individual coping with an illness, can contact hospice to inquire about eligibility for services. Staff members respond efficiently to arrange a personal meeting to assess needs.
Myth: You must work with a hospice physician.
Reality: Your personal physician works in tandem with the Medical Director and our professional staff to develop and administer care and comfort.
Myth: You must be in a nursing home or other facility to receive hospice services.
Reality: The hospice team, including a registered nurse, certified nursing assistant, social worker, chaplain and volunteer, visits with and cares for individuals in the location of their choice. We serve people wherever they choose, including private residences, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or hospitals.
Myth: Hospice is where you go when there is nothing more a doctor can do.
Reality: Hospice is not a place but a comprehensive program utilizing an interdisciplinary team that provides medical, emotional and spiritual care focusing on comfort and quality of life while also supporting family caregivers.
Myth: Good care at the end of life is expensive.
Reality: Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries pay little or nothing for hospice services, and most insurance plans, HMOs and managed care plans include hospice coverage.
Myth: Hospice is only for the last few days of life.
Reality: Hospice patients and families can receive care for 6 months or longer, depending upon the course of the illness. Eligibility standards indicate a life expectancy of 6 months or less but, in many cases, this decision is a reasonable estimate based upon available information which cannot account for all factors.
Myth: All hospices are the same.
Reality: Each hospice offers similar core services but where Hospice of the Rock River Valley excels is focus on family satisfaction and quality hospice care. Ask for us by name!
Myth: Hospice means giving up.
Reality: Hospice does not mean "giving up hope," rather it focuses on maximizing the quality of life based on an individual's choices so that the person may live life as fully as possible for as long as possible.
Myth: Patients die sooner with hospice care.
Reality: Hospice does not hasten or prevent death. Hospice staff specializes in managing pain and symptoms so the patient can enjoy their life with their loved ones. One study indicates that Hospice care is linked to longer patient survival. If a patient stabilizes under hospice care, the patient can be discharged.