Common Misunderstanding: Hospice is a “death sentence”.
Reality: Hospice patients are those who have been diagnosed by a doctor as having six months or less to live, but Hospice is not a death sentence. In fact, Hospice Care can add life back to the days of a patient as pain and symptoms are managed and the patient and family experience the compassion of the Hospice team. The Hospice philosophy of care focuses on quality of life.
Common Misunderstanding: Hospice is giving up.
Reality: The primary objective of Hospice Care is to relieve the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social suffering that often accompanies a terminal illness. When a cure becomes impractical, Hospice helps the patient shift the focus to peacefully and comfortably living out their remaining days. Instead of using energy to fight pain and discomfort, the patient uses that energy for things that improve their quality of life (peaceful rest, memory-making, and even reconciliation with family members and friends). The hospice workers (Hospice Nurse, Social Worker, Hospice Volunteer, Chaplain, Aide, Medical Director) are available for questions and concerns. They can also help with “knowing what to say” to someone in Hospice Care.
Common Misunderstanding: Hospice is only for patients with cancer.
Reality: More than one-half of Hospice patients nationwide have diagnoses other than cancer. Increasingly, Hospices also serve families coping with end-stages of chronic diseases, like emphysema, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular and neuromuscular diseases.
Common Misunderstanding: It’s important to limit opioid medication because the Hospice patient may become “addicted.”
Reality: Addiction to opioids is very rare for Hospice patients. If an opioid is prescribed for the Hospice patient, the goal is to relieve pain. Opioids do not hasten death. They are introduced gradually, allowing the body to adjust to their effect.
Common Misunderstanding: An experienced Hospice Nurse can accurately predict how long a Hospice patient has to live.
Reality: On average, the active part of dying (what happens at the very end of someone’s life) usually lasts about three days. Prior to that, the body’s processes may begin to slow anywhere from two weeks to months before the active part of dying. Your Hospice Care team works with you throughout the dying process so that you recognize what is happening, know what to expect, and are prepared along the way. Each person’s final journey is unique and there is no perfect way to know exactly when a person will die. For that reason, Hospice speaks in terms of months to weeks, weeks to days, and days to hours. Such language helps the family recognize changes and comprehend when a Hospice patient is nearing the end of their life.
Common Misunderstanding: Hospice Care is only for elderly patients.
Reality: Although the majority of Hospice patients are older, many Hospices serve patients of all ages. Almost 20% of Hospice patients are under 65 years of age. (American Hospice Association – www.americanhospice.org)
Common Misunderstanding: Hospice provides 24-hour care.
Reality: While Hospice team members are available on call 24-hours per day and 7 days per week, Hospice Care is intermittent care. In unusual circumstances, additional levels of Hospice care are available for periods of short duration. Your Hospice Nurse Case Manager will monitor the situation and make a recommendation for additional services if warranted.
Common Misunderstanding: Hospice is a place.
Reality: Hospice Care often takes place in the home or in a place that is currently home, such as an assisted living community, skilled nursing facility, or long-term care center. Hospice is a model for quality, compassionate care for persons facing a serious or life-limiting illness or injury
Common Misunderstanding: I cannot take care of my loved one by myself.
Reality: Serenity Hospice Care supports the patient and the caregiver. The Hospice team provides education and training, answers questions, and shares practical tips and strategies. This helps the family know what to expect and how to handle the physical and emotional aspects of caregiving. Hospice Respite Care is alternative care outside your home in a partnering medical care community. This level of care supports the caregiver during times of fatigue, stress, or illness and has a limited stay of five days per benefit period. Your Hospice Nurse Case Manager understands the various levels of Hospice Care and will help you navigate the ups and downs that come with serious illness near the end-of-life.
Common Misunderstanding: When I chose Hospice Care, I can no longer see my own Physician.
Reality: Your Physician can continue to be your doctor and approves the Hospice patient plan of care. Your Hospice team works with your Physician to provide that care and the Hospice Medical Director works in partnership with your Physician, attending Hospice team meetings, and advising and directing the team.
Common Misunderstanding: Hospice is only needed when there is “no hope”.
Reality: When death is in sight, there are two options: submit without hope or live life as fully as ever until the end. Hospice is all about helping the Hospice patient and family see hope through a new lens. Hope is family, close friends, and the meaning that is attached to each day of living, rather than the length of time that the patient will be alive. Hospice redefines hope in a way that allows the patient and family to make the most of the time left.
Common Misunderstanding: Hospice is for patients who don’t need a high level of care.
Reality: Hospice is serious medicine. Serenity Hospice Care employs experienced medical and nursing personnel with skills in symptom control and other important proficiencies. The goal of Hospice Care is to use advanced techniques and knowledge to prevent or alleviate distressing symptoms.
Common Misunderstanding: Hospice care is expensive.
Reality: We are often asked: “how much does Hospice cost”? Most patients who use Hospice are over 65 years of age and are entitled to the Medicare Hospice Benefit. The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers virtually all Hospice Care services and requires little if any, out-of-pocket costs. This means that there are no financial burdens incurred by the family, in sharp contrast to the huge financial expenses at the end of life which may be incurred when Hospice is not used. For those not covered through Medicare,
Medicaid or private insurance, Serenity Hospice Care provides services on a sliding fee scale based on a financial assessment. We are dedicated to serving all in our community who need high-quality comfort and care, as well as their families, regardless of their financial resources.
Serenity Hospice Care knows that you have a choice when it comes to making the decision to enroll in Hospice Care. We also know that all Hospices are not the same. Serenity Hospice Care stands above the rest, recognized as one of only three Hospice programs in Kansas and the only Hospice program in Hutchinson to receive the SHP “Superior Performer” award. This award distinguishes Serenity Hospice Care for achieving an overall caregiver and family satisfaction score that ranked in the top 20% of all eligible SHP (Strategic Healthcare Partners) in the Nation. Do you want to know more about Hospice Care that is unparalleled in care and service? Call us today at 316.687.2273 (Wichita) or 620.899.683 (Hutchinson).
The word "hospice" was once used to describe a place of refuge for people on a difficult journey. Our excellent care and deep compassion for patients and families offer a place of comfort on the end-of-life journey. Recognizing that in hospice care the main guardians are the family caregiver and the hospice team, care is most often provided in the home setting or community setting, rather than in hospitals and hospice care facilities. The Serenity Hospice Care team will support the patient and family wherever they are to call home.
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