According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, approximately 1.49 million Americans who were enrolled in Medicare were also enrolled in hospice for at least one day in 2017. Hospice is becoming a more recognized and utilized way for elderly individuals to receive the care they need in their final days. However, despite this, there is still a lot of misinformation about hospice care.
Here are a few of the most common misconceptions about hospice care.
Hospice Is Only for Patients With Cancer
Many patients with cancer enroll in hospice to receive the unique palliative care they require. However, you do not need to have cancer to enjoy the benefits of hospice. In reality, hospice is for patients with a variety of conditions that require a shift in focus from therapies to prolong life to treatments that will help ease pain and suffering. These conditions typically include Alzheimer's disease, dementia, kidney disease, and heart disease.
Hospice Is Just About the Patient's Needs
When a patient enters hospice care, the focus of their family and healthcare team switches to ensuring the patient is as comfortable as possible in their final days. The patient's care is the main focus of hospice caregivers. However, the patient is not the only focus.
Hospice providers will work with family members to ensure that the familial caregivers, who are often overlooked, receive the support they need to make it through this difficult period.
Hospice Is A Physical Place
One major misconception about hospice is that hospice is a physical place where a patient must relocate to receive palliative care. Hospice is actually a service and the patient can receive the care they require from hospice caregivers in any setting they are comfortable with. For example, if a patient wishes to spend their final days in the family home, hospice providers can come to the patient's residence to administer medications and provide any other necessary services.
Hospice care in available in any number of settings, including nursing home and assisted living facilities. Depending on the patient's insurance provider, the patient may qualify for a hospice facility, which is specifically designed to provide around-the-clock hospice care. This is an option for patients who require more regular monitoring and assistance.
Hospice is becoming a more widely accepted program that benefits patients who require specialized end-of-life care. Talk to your doctor about any other questions you have about hospice care.