As the premier treatment for people in the end stages of their life, hospice care too often gets a bad reputation because it deals with those moving closer to death. Despite sufferers’ often bleak prognoses, hospices provide their patients with a number of valuable services that aid them in pain management and quality of life.
In order to get a more accurate view of what hospice actually is, we’ll break down the top 5 myths about hospice care.
1. Hospice care is only for people in their last days
A common misconception is that the people in hospice care are only expected to live for a few more days. The truth is that a lot of people in hospice actually live for six months or more.
Seniors who qualify for Medicare-covered hospice need to have Medicare Part A and have a doctor certify that they may not live more than 6 months. The important word to remember here is “may”—this is very different from saying someone is sure to pass away within six months.
Medicare doesn’t necessarily stop covering hospice care for patients after they pass the six-month mark. The standard procedure is for doctors to re-certify that hospice is still appropriate for patients after six months has passed, and Medicare will keep covering hospice care as long as a patient’s doctor re-certifies that the patient meets the six-month criteria outlined earlier.
2. Hospice care is giving up on a patient’s life
One of the very unfortunate myths about hospice care is that people enter hospice because they lack the will to go on. An astounding number of people believe that when a patient enters hospice care, they are essentially “giving up” on their life and filling their last days with pain or suffering.
This is absolutely not the case. Hospices are there to provide patients with continuing care in order to improve their quality of life, make sure they are as comfortable as possible, and aid in carrying out their wishes.
They provide a number of quality of life services in an effort to improve the patient’s well-being as much as possible, including stabilizing any medical conditions and offering the best pain management available.
3. Hospice care speeds up the dying process
Unfortunately, hospice itself has a negative connotation among many people. Despite the fact that its purpose is to improve quality of life, some incorrectly believe that it speeds up the dying process. On the contrary, hospice helps you live longer. Due to the excellent quality-of-life care and medical treatment provided at hospice centers, people in hospice care can actually live longer and, more importantly, be happier than those without care.
4. Extreme pain and suffering is an unavoidable part of dying
Even though hospice patients may experience uncomfortable symptoms, these are manageable. Hospice workers are highly trained and skilled in providing effective pain management for patients at the end of life. All hospice care workers, including nurses and doctors, are trained in detecting what end-of-life stage the hospice patient is in. They can then adjust their treatment accordingly in order to provide effective pain management and give patients the most comfortable and pain-free life as possible. Hospice works together with patients and families on specific treatments plans for pain control.
5. Hospice is expensive
One final myth about hospice is that the care is too expensive and out of reach for a lot of people. The truth is that hospice is covered under Medicare’s hospice benefit, meaning qualified patients pay little to nothing for their end of life care.
Most insurance plans, HMOs, and managed care plans also include coverage for hospice care.
Don’t have medical insurance? Don’t worry—hospice care is afforded to everyone regardless of the ability to pay.
Get Started with Hospice of South Louisiana Care Today
If someone you know or love is suffering as a result of a terminal illness and needs treatment as they progress towards the end of their life, don’t hesitate to contact Hospice of South Louisiana. As the premier end of life care facility in the region, HSLA is ready to help your loved one manage this process with dignity through excellent quality of life care and the best in pain management. Call 888-893-3829 to speak to someone about your options now.