Clearing Up Myths About Hospice Care
Clearing up the myths about Hospice Care
by Stephanie Watson

Hospice is a philosophy, not a location. Hospice patients can be all ages, from infants to the elderly. In general, the time to call hospice is when a person has a diagnosis of which one typically has six months or less to live.

Hospice focuses on pain & symptom management when there are no more options for curative treatment or the patient has decided not to pursue additional treatment. Hospice does not do anything to hasten or postpone death. It supports living each day to the fullest & regards death as a natural process. Most hospice recipients receive care in their own home, but it can be in a hospital, assisted living or SNF. The hospice team consists of doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, aides & volunteers, again to provide care to support & comfort rather than to cure. Hospice also offers emotional, psychological & spiritual care for people at the end of their lives, as well as for their families. Palliative care is similar to comfort care you receive in hospice, but it is offered along with medical treatments you might be receiving for a life-threatening illness; such as chemotherapy for cancer or dialysis for diabetes. Both hospice & palliative care has the goal of keeping you comfortable. You can move from hospice to palliative care if you want to pursue treatments to cure your illness. Hospice also provides bereavement counseling to the family for up to 13 months after the death of a loved one.