The Truth About Hospice Care

Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.

November is national hospice month. This is our opportunity to magnify the benefits of hospice care in addition to clarifying myths related to hospice.

  1. Hospice means giving up hope. FALSE. When conventional medicine can no longer add time to a life, Hospice can add LIFE to the time a patient has left. Hospice and palliative care are specialized forms of healthcare for people with serious life-limiting illnesses. A team of professionals including physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, allied therapists, spiritual counselors, and trained volunteers create an individualized, person-centered care plan to address the needs and fulfill the wishes of patients. At the center of hospice and palliative care is the belief that each of us has the right to live and die pain-free with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so. 
  2. Hospice is expensiveFALSE. The Medicare Hospice Benefit was signed into law in 1982, and now almost 1.5 million American’s are served annually by hospice care agencies in all 50 states. Most importantly, hospice care is available to all Medicare beneficiaries in the comfort of their own homes or place of residence. 
  3. Palliative care and Hospice care are the same thing. FALSE. Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with a serious illness, focusing on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family. It is similar to hospice care, in that it is person-centered, interdisciplinary approach to treating serious illness.

The TRUTH is there remains a great need to increase public awareness about the benefits of hospice and palliative care, and to assure access to all American’s regardless of their diagnosis, prognosis, or place of residence. As the baby boomer generation is reaching their senior years there will only be 1 Physician for every 26,000 seriously ill patients by 2030. That means that action needs to be taken and more families need to be made aware about the benefits of hospice care before time runs out.