Carrie Long, LMSW, Social Worker, UnityPoint at Home – Hospice
All too often, people misunderstand what hospice is and what it can do for its patients. Hospice care serves end-of-life patients and their families with compassion and dignity. Caring team members and volunteers address the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient and their family. It is not simply a focus on the end of life, but to celebrate and honor it in every moment.
Myth: Hospice care starts during the last few weeks of life.
Fact: Individuals that have a life expectancy of six months or fewer are eligible to receive hospice care. Care referral begins with your doctor and then hospice will evaluate to ensure you qualify. Regardless of where your journey may lead, hospice care focuses on living rather than dying.
Myth: Hospice is for the elderly.
Fact: Hospice care is designed to serve anyone facing life-limiting illness, regardless of age or diagnosis. In fact, over the last two decades, hospice organizations have served an increasing number of children and young adults and expanded services specific to young people facing life-limiting illness or disease.
Myth: Hospice care means you’re giving up.
Fact: The goal of hospice is to focus on physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort versus curative treatment because it is either no longer successful or the risks outweigh the benefits. The hospice team improves quality of life through pain management and symptom control. People on hospice often live as long or longer than people who are aggressively treating an advanced illness. In fact, some patients even become discharged from hospice care because they no longer qualify after a certain period of time.
Myth: Hospice is for when they just need to take you out of the hospital.
Fact: Choosing hospice care does not mean your health care team has given up hope. Instead, it’s a decision that you and your primary care physician will make together to ensure you receive more focused and personalized care to live fully and comfortably.
Myth: Hospice care means you no longer have a voice in your health care.
Fact: Hospice care is centered on your needs, wishes, and goals. As an important member of your care team, care is tailored to your individual medical and comfort preferences and coordinated to accommodate your desired schedule.
Myth: Hospice is a place you have to go to.
Fact: It’s true hospice care can be delivered in a variety of settings, from the hospital to a long-term care facility. However, over 90% of hospice services provided in the United States take place in a patient’s home. Hospice care isn’t about a physical location, it’s about delivering care in the place you feel most comfortable and secure.
Myth: Hospice won’t fit into my budget
Fact: Hospice is covered under most insurance plans. For example, Medicare Part A and Medicaid cover 100% with the Veteran’s Administration receiving concurrent care. Insurance will also fund equipment (hospital beds, shower chairs) and medications and supplies (incontinence supplies, dressings), delivered directly to you.
To learn if hospice is right for you or your loved one, please speak with your primary care provider or call us directly at 309-948-7122.