Dispelling common myths about hospice care

Hospice care is comprehensive care by a team of medical experts that allows individuals and their families to focus on living as fully as possible. Hospice providers served more than 1.6 million dying Americans in 2015 across the nation, yet there is still much that can be learned about what quality community-based hospice care is.

Myth: Hospice is where you go when there is nothing more a doctor can do.
Fact: Hospice is not a place, but a philosophy of care providing medical, emotional and spiritual care focusing on comfort and quality of life.

Myth: Hospice is only for the last days of life.
Fact: Patients and their families can receive hospice care for six months or longer, depending on the course of the illness. Hospice care is most beneficial when there is sufficient time to manage symptoms and establish a trusting relationship with both the patient and the family.

Myth: Choosing hospice means giving up hope.
Fact: Hospice provides comfort and quality of life when a cure is no longer possible. The hope for living each day to the fullest becomes the focus.

Myth: Good care at end of life is very expensive.
Fact: Medicare beneficiaries pay little or nothing for hospice. Most insurance plans, HMOs and managed care plans include hospice coverage. Tricare covers active duty and retired military personnel.  The Denver Hospice has programs to care for uninsured and underinsured individuals.

Myth: You can’t keep your own doctor if you enter hospice.
Fact: Hospice physicians work closely with the patient’s doctor to determine an individualized plan of care.

Myth: Choosing hospice means giving up all medical treatment.
Fact: The reality is that hospice places the individual and family at the center of the care-planning process and provides high-quality pain management and symptom control.

Myth: Hospice only cares for patients in their homes.
Fact: Most people choose to die at home surrounded by their loved ones. The Denver Hospice cares for individuals wherever they call home, including skilled care, assisted living facilities, and group homes.

Myth: Hospice is just for the elderly.
Fact: Hospice serves anyone facing a life-limiting illness, regardless of age, including infants and children.

Myth: Families are not able to care for people with life-limiting illnesses.
Fact: Hospice involves families and offers professional support and training to help them care for their loved ones.

Myth: Hospice care starts when someone is close to dying and ends at death.
Fact: The focus of hospice care starts at the time of diagnosis or acute phase of the terminal illness and extends beyond the patient’s death to include bereavement care and grief support for the family. The Denver Hospice Grief Center is open to anyone in the community whether their loss is a hospice death or not.