Hospice care is a great solution to help a patient and their family when a person has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. Even though there is a long list of potential benefits, some people are hesitant to seek hospice services because of common misconceptions about the industry.
We could share a long list of common hospice misconceptions. But today, our team wants to focus in-depth on the five most common misconceptions – to help families break down the myths and misunderstandings about these services.
Misconception #1: Hospice is Giving Up on a Loved One
Because a person must be diagnosed with a terminal illness to receive hospice care, some families feel like they are giving up on a loved one by bringing in hospice services. On the other hand, you want to maximize the time available with family, so why bring in providers when you think it is speeding up the timeline?
The truth is that hospice is the opposite of giving up. Hospice services is a great resource for both the patient and their family members, helping them access personalized support that is necessary during this time.
Even though curative treatments aren’t included in a hospice care plan, these services help individuals live their best lives in the final days. The ongoing emotional and medical support can improve the person’s quality of life, helping them have the best possible opportunities to spend quality time with friends and family.
In fact, there are situations where hospice improves the person’s health to the point where they no longer need services. For example, regular medication management, medical care, improved nutrition, social support, and other services can have a positive benefit on boosting the patient’s health and wellness.
Misconception #2: Hospice is the End of the Road
Just because a patient begins hospice services doesn’t necessarily mean that they are committed to these services until the end. You have the option to end hospice care at any point.
When hospice begins, it means the patient is no longer choosing to receive curative treatment. For example, a cancer patient stops chemotherapy, and the medical focus turns to symptom and pain management.
But there are times when the person or family decides to try curative treatments again. If new treatments become available or the person’s health starts to improve, you might choose to stop hospice care and pursue a different pathway forward.
Every patient is unique, which is why it’s important to implement ongoing evaluations and changes as needed. Consider working with a provider that offers both hospice and home health care, making it an easy transition if you decide to change from hospice to a different type of medical support.
Also, there is no requirement to sign a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. Even though patients aren’t receiving curative treatment, they can continue receiving life-saving measures as needed. You can create a plan with the hospice provider to determine the optimal level of care in the future.
Misconception #3: Hospice Only Provides Medical and Physical Support
The primary part of a hospice care plan addresses physical symptoms and pain management. But these services don’t stop at this point.
A full-service hospice plan includes everything a patient needs, including emotional, mental, and spiritual support. Our team looks at each situation on a case-by-case basis to ensure the care plan includes all personalized services that are necessary.
In addition to the immediate medical needs, we also bring in other specialists that support overall physical and mental wellness.
The initial care plan is the place that we start, with ongoing assessments and adjustments as needed. If a person’s health condition changes, then we adjust the care plan based on the improvements or decline that is occurring.
Patients and families always have the option to request or decline specific services in a hospice plan. We work hand-in-hand with caregivers, the patient, and the family to provide the best care that addresses both current needs and ongoing requirements for the future.
Misconception #4: Hospice Patients Must Leave Home
Are you worried about hospice services because you don’t want your family member to leave home? While hospice care is available in skilled nursing and live-in residential communities, a patient isn’t required to be at one of these on-site locations to receive services.
In fact, many families choose in-home hospice care as an alternative to a live-in care location. Patients prefer the comfort of staying at home. In addition, our team brings the medical support that is needed into your home.
To put it simply: hospice isn’t a location; it’s a type of care that addresses a person’s needs when they are living with a life-limiting condition.
Hospice is a flexible way of providing patients with personalized care at any location of their choice. Since our goal is to help each patient feel as comfortable as possible, we are happy to offer these services in the comfort of your home.
Misconception #5: Hospice Will Negatively Affect the Person’s Quality of Life
One of the most common reasons families wait to start hospice services is that hospice will have a negative impact on the person’s quality of life. Will it be uncomfortable to have medical providers in the patient’s home?
Most people can agree that hospice is necessary for the final stages of a person’s life – the last few days and weeks when health is declining rapidly. But there are benefits to engaging in hospice services before a patient reaches this point.
The hospice team focuses on improving a person’s overall quality of life. Ideally, these services begin when a patient has a prognosis of six months, with the intention to maximize the remaining time.
When hospice providers are involved, it supports the family in having the best possible experience. Our goal is to help you enjoy these final months to the fullest, creating optimal conditions for creating memories and sharing time together.
For example, hospice care can offer the symptom management that the person needs to participate in other activities that weren’t previously possible. Reducing the pain and symptoms can enable a person to leave the house or move around a little more to enjoy time with family and friends.
Learn More About Hospice Care
If you are interested in learning more about your options for hospice care, then our team is here to provide education and information. At Avatar Healthcare, we offer personalized solutions to families who need personal home care, hospice, or home health services.