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Hospice Myths Debunked

Hospice Myths Debunked

July 17, 2022

Many people will become eligible for hospice at some point in their lifetime. Hospice is quality, compassionate care for people with life-limiting illness that focuses on providing pain management, medical, emotional and spiritual support. More than half of all Medicare recipients received hospice care in 2021, and that number has steadily risen for the past five years.

While hospice utilization continues to grow, many misconceptions deter eligible patients from choosing this type of care. Here are some of the most common hospice misconceptions and the truths surrounding them.

MYTH: Hospice means you’re giving up.

TRUTH: Choosing hospice means shifting the priority of treatment to comfort from cure when the patient’s condition or illness has progressed beyond the point at which curative treatments are effective. Hospice does not shorten or prolong life, yet patients with some conditions may live longer with hospice care than without and patients and families are associated with higher satisfaction and quality of life outcomes.

MYTH: I can’t afford hospice.

TRUTH: Hospice is a special benefit covered by Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration and many private health insurances. If your doctor recommends it and you meet the eligibility criteria for hospice, up to 100% of your costs could be covered.

MYTH: Hospice isn’t right for me because I don’t want to leave my home.

TRUTH: Hospice is not a place, it’s a special type of care that can be provided wherever the patient calls home. Many patients choose to receive hospice at home. Others receive hospice care in the nursing facility or assisted living facility where they reside.

MYTH: I can’t go on hospice unless my doctor recommends it.

TRUTH: Anyone can ask for a hospice evaluation, including a patient, family member or caregiver. During a hospice evaluation, physicians will examine the patient and determine if they meet the proper eligibility requirements.

MYTH: A family member or friend must be available to help with hospice care.

TRUTH: While the majority of hospice patients receive support from a family member, there are other options. The hospice interdisciplinary team is made up of nurses, physicians, counselors, therapists, social workers, aides and volunteers that each play an important role in care.

MYTH: Once you choose hospice you can’t change your mind.

TRUTH: Even after you enroll in hospice, you can later choose to leave the hospice program if you choose. You can reenroll in hospice at any time as long as you meet the required eligibility criteria.

MYTH: All hospices are the same.

TRUTH: While all hospices have to meet certain criteria to participate in the Medicare program, they may administer their programs in different places, be independent or part of a larger network of hospices, serve people primarily in the home versus other locations, and more. It’s important to research hospice options and choose one that aligns with your preferences.

Choosing Hospice

We know making decisions about your health or the health of a loved one can be overwhelming. At Charter, we pride ourselves on helping patients and families understand and navigate their health care options so you can feel confident your needs will be met. If you have questions about hospice care, call (909) 644-4965.