Myth #1: I only need to call hospice in the last few weeks or days of life.
Fact: The earlier hospice is involved, the more likely it is that a patient’s final days, weeks or months can be comfortable and fulfilling. If you are thinking this may be the last birthday or holiday celebration with your loved one, it’s time to call and get information about hospice programs and services.
Myth #2: I won’t be able to pay for hospice services.
Fact: Most people have already “paid” for hospice services throughout their working life via Medicare payroll deductions. In addition, hospice care is covered by most Medicaid and commercial insurance plans with few, if any, out-of-pocket costs. Hospice of Huntington provides care regardless of your ability to pay.
Myth #3: If I am in hospice I will lose control over my care and healthcare decisions. Hospice will either stop my medications or give me too much medication.
Fact: You and your doctor remain in control of your care and the amount of medication prescribed. You are an important part of the hospice care team and can participate in decisions for your care.
Myth #4: Being a hospice patient means I lose my family doctor, or won’t be able to go to the hospital.
Fact: A patient’s doctor is an essential part of the hospice team. Patients can go to the hospital if necessary. Each hospice patient has a dedicated team, which includes a hospice medical director, your own doctor, nurse, hospice aide, social worker, clergy, and patient volunteer.
Myth #5: By accepting hospice care, I must give up all aggressive treatments.
Fact: Hospice care is aggressive comfort care and treatment of symptoms related to the terminal diagnosis. Treatment for all other medical conditions will continue as directed by your doctor.
Myth #6: Nursing home and/or assisted-living facility residents are not eligible for hospice care.
Fact: Nursing home and/or assisted living facility residents are eligible for hospice as long as long as the facility is in our service area and has a contract with Hospice of Huntington.
Myth #7: As a caregiver, I will not have any input into my loved one’s care.
Fact: Hospice serves patients and their families by keeping the family involved in the treatment of the patient and providing support for the caregiver.
Myth #8: If I am a hospice patient, I have to be a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) to be eligible. Emergency response personnel will not try to save my life through a “full code” (chest compressions, intubation, IV medications, defibrillation).
Fact: Patients can have a resuscitation or full code status and still be eligible for hospice care.
Myth #9: I will not live as long with hospice care.
Fact: A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that cancer patients who utilized hospice care lived 29 days longer and congestive heart care patients lived 81 days longer than patients without hospice care.
Myth #10: Hospice care is only meant to help the patient die.
Fact: Hospice care is designed to provide comfort measures that may actually improve the quality of life for the patient and caregiver. We help patients live longer and better when facing a terminal illness.