Some people have the wrong idea about hospice care. They think that hospice is only about dying and that hospice is the place you go when there’s nothing more to be done. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hospice helps people with a life-limiting illness focus on living as fully as possible for as long as possible.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is working to help people understand that hospice brings comfort, dignity, and peace to people facing a terminal illness. Hospice provides support and care for the family caregivers, too.
Last year, 1.65 million dying Americans were cared for by hospice. Yet, there are some important facts about hospice that people don’t know. And this may be keeping people from getting the best care possible, when they need it most.
1. Hospice is not a place—it’s high-quality care that focuses on comfort and quality of life.
2. Hospice is paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans. Fear of costs should never prevent a person from accessing hospice care.
3. Hospice serves anyone with a life-limiting illness, regardless of age or type of illness.
4. Hospice provides expert medical care as well as spiritual and emotional support to patients and families.
5. Research has shown that the majority of Americans would prefer to be at home at the end of life—hospice makes this possible for most people.
6. Hospice serves people living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
7. Hospice patients and families can receive care for six months or longer.
8. A person may keep his or her referring physician involved while receiving hospice care.
9. Hospice offers grief and bereavement services to family members to help them adjust to the loss in their lives.
10. Research has shown people receiving hospice care can live longer than similar patients who do not opt for hospice.
If this information about hospice surprises you, take the time to find out more. The best time to learn about hospice is before you or someone in your family is facing a medical crisis.
For more information, visit NHPCO’s Caring Connections at www.CaringInfo.org or call the HelpLine at 800-658-8898.