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MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HOSPICE CARE

Slowly but surely, more Americans are beginning to embrace hospice care. About 1.55 million
Americans accessed hospice care in 2018, a figure that represents a notable increase from the
previous years. However, compared to the number of Americans with chronic and terminal illnesses,
the hospice care system remains grossly underutilized.

There are a few reasons why people decline to use hospice care, and almost all those reasons stem
from misconceptions and misinformation about what this care system is really about. In this article,
we will be addressing seven common myths and misconceptions about hospice care and revealing
the facts and truths.

MYTH NUMBER 1: HOSPICE CARE CAN ONLY BE ACCESSED AT A HOSPITAL OR FACILITY

THE TRUTH: Many people shy away from hospice care for fear of being institutionalized. But with hospice care, that does not have to happen. There are four levels of hospice care, and two of those – routine home care and continuous home care – are available to the patient at any place of their choosing. The other two levels involve inpatient care, but the patient always maintains the absolute right to decide where they want to receive care.

MYTH NUMBER 2: HOSPICE CARE AIMS TO HASTEN DEATH

FACT: The misconception that hospice care is a place where the ill go to die when they give up on life is one that persists. The purpose of hospice services is to learn to make the most of the time one has left. Rather than shorten life, this care system aims to maximize comfort and help the terminally ill find peace before the inevitable. Besides, research findings prove that the terminally ill who decide to go with hospice live longer than was projected for them and a lot more comfortably than those who do not.

MYTH NUMBER 3: ONLY CANCER PATIENTS CAN BENEFIT FROM HOSPICE SERVICES

FACT: Advanced cancer is one of the most common terminal illnesses, so perhaps this misconception is understandable. However, hospice care accommodates people with all types of terminal illnesses including, but not limited to, Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and chronic liver disease.

MYTH NUMBER 4: HOSPICE CARE IS ONLY FOR THE ELDERLY

FACT: Children and young adults can also be diagnosed with terminal conditions, and they also deserve to be cared for in the event of such. Hospice care services extend to all individuals and their loved ones, regardless of age group.

MYTH NUMBER 5: HOSPICE CARE TAKES CONTROL OF CARE AWAY FROM THE PATIENT AND THEIR LOVED ONES

FACT: This cannot be further from the truth. Hospice care encompasses medical, nursing, religious, household support, and social services. Still, all of it is structured to keep the patient and their relatives in the position to call the shots. All decisions are taken by patients and their families, while hospice staff only function in advisory and supportive roles. In addition, hospice staff does not seek to replace personal health providers if a patient has any. Rather than take over from them, care is provided by cooperation; the patient's comfort remains the priority.

MYTH NUMBER 6: HOSPICE CARE IS ONLY FOR THE RICH

FACT: Advanced cancer is one of the most common terminal illnesses, so perhaps this misconception is understandable. However, hospice care accommodates people with all types of terminal illnesses including, but not limited to, Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and chronic liver disease.

MYTH NUMBER 7: HOSPICE CARE AND PALLIATIVE CARE ARE THE SAME

FACT: Although both care programs aim to provide comfort to the seriously ill, there are differences
in the approach. Palliative care offers curative treatment and often begins at diagnosis. On the other
hand, hospice care is provided to patients who have six months or less to live and do not want to
bother with treatment aimed at curing.

For further clarifications about what hospice care is and how to get the most from it, feel free to contact us at Hillside Hospice. We are a Medicare-certified hospice agency determined to improve the quality of life in people in need of end-of-life care.

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