This post is the second in a series of posts about Hospice care. To read our first article, please visit: Everything Hospice – What You Should Know. Today, we are sharing myths about Hospice and clarifying many misconceptions on the topic.
Possibly the most common myth is that Hospice is what you turn to when you are “giving up”, when “nothing else can be done”. Often times, people believe that it will shorten the patient’s survival. But it is quite the contrary. Referral into hospice is a movement into another mode of therapy, which may be more appropriate for terminal care. Additionally, a recent study suggests that those under hospice care lived longer. The average survival length was 29 days longer for hospice patients than for non-hospice patients in a study of 4,000 patients.
Many also believe that Hospice care is only for cancer patients. This is untrue. Hospice care is available for all individuals who are terminally ill, regardless of illness. Common diagnosis include congestive heart failure, lung disease, and dementia, as well as cancer.
Another myth is that you must pay for Hospice care and it is not covered by insurance. Medicare and many insurance agencies cover hospice care. In the event that your insurance does not cover this type of care, there are many hospice organizations that do not deny care due to lack of insurance. If you are looking for hospice care and do not have coverage, we encourage you to contact local hospice organizations to determine what your options are and if they offer any programs for this circumstance.
Lastly, there is often misperceptions on the length of time an individual can receive hospice care. Although the patient diagnosis must be six months or less, most insurance companies, as well as medicare will pay for hospice care as long as the individual meets the medical criteria, which may be longer than six months. Some individuals have improved while on medicare and can be discharged from hospice. If necessary, the patient can re-enroll at a later time.
Our next blog will focus on services and benefits to family and friends of the Hospice Patient. And will finish with the fourth and final post on Hospice volunteering. We look forward to sharing more on Hospice with you.