Misconceptions versus Reality

Brought to you by Pike County Hospice. As November’s National Hospice & Palliative Care awareness month comes to a close, that doesn’t mean you cannot continue to learn more about Hospice and the help it can bring to you and your loved one in the time of need. With the information that you have received this month we hope you may feel more informed and comfortable when it comes time to speak about hospice care. We will close Hospice Awareness month with some common misconceptions about hospice care, versus the reality.

Misconception: Hospice makes death come sooner.

Reality: Hospice neither hastens nor postpones dying. The aim is to improve the quality of remaining life so patients can enjoy time with family and friends and experience a natural, pain-free death. In some cases, hospice care can extend life.

Misconception: Hospice is giving up hope; it’s better to fight for life.

Reality: Most terminally ill patients experience less anxiety by refocusing hope on what might be realistically achieved in the time remaining. If continuing uncomfortable and painful curative treatment for an illness is fruitless, hospice patients benefit more from having their symptoms treated instead.

Misconception: A hospice patient who shows signs of recovery can’t return to regular medical treatment.

Reality: If a patient’s condition improves, they can be discharged from hospice and return to curative treatment, or resume their daily lives. If need be, they can later return to hospice care.

Misconception: A hospice patient can’t change his or her mind and return to curative treatment even if their prognosis hasn’t changed.

Reality: A patient can go on and off hospice care as needed—or if they change their mind and decide to return to curative treatment. They may also enter hospital for certain types of treatment if it involves improving their quality of life.

Misconception: Hospice care is limited to a maximum of six months.

Reality: In the U.S., many insurance companies, as well as the Medicare Hospice Benefit, require that a terminally ill patient has a prognosis of six months or less to start hospice, but a terminally-ill patient can receive hospice care for as long as necessary.

Thank you for helping us spread awareness of Hospice & Palliative Care. Please remember you are not alone, and you can always find more information by visiting www.nhpco.org

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