Hospice care: separating fact from fiction

Categories: Care.

Many people think being on hospice means lying in a bed, barely conscious. However, this perception is not an accurate one. Many hospice patients’ final moments are spent enjoying quality time with family and friends and creating special moments and memories. This would not be possible without the help of hospice.

The mission of hospice is to provide specialized care for patients in the final weeks and months of life and their families. More simply, hospice care supports living one’s life to the fullest with dignity regardless of how much time remains.

There are many common myths about hospice, here are a few:

Myth: Hospice care means leaving home.

Fact: Hospice services can be provided in a patient’s own home, a nursing home, long-term care facility or a hospice care center. Hospice is not a place. In fact, hospice services can be provided to a terminally ill patient and his or her family wherever they are most comfortable or wherever they consider home.

Myth: Hospice means forgoing all medical treatment.

Fact: Hospice professionals are experts in the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. In every case, a hospice provider will assess the needs of the patient, deciding which medications, equipment, and therapies are needed for maximum comfort.

Myth: Hospice means strangers care for you.

Fact: Hospice provides a dedicated team of specialists to suit the needs of each patient and train family members. Hospice organizations strive to educate family members to serve as the primary caregivers for a patient.

Myth: People on hospice are in bed, waiting to die.

Fact: Hospice enables special moments and memories at the end of a life that would otherwise not happen. Patients call hospice because they want to live as fully as possible with dignity, restoring a quality of life that they would have otherwise lost to invasive treatments and surgeries.

Myth: Hospice care ends when someone dies.

Fact: Hospice organizations offer bereavement services for all ages. Hospice counseling services and support that deal specifically with grief and coping after the loss of a loved one are available at no cost for up to a year after someone dies.

To learn more about what hospice can do for you or your family, visit MomentsOfLife.org.