Hospice or palliative care is health care for terminally ill patients, ensuring their pain and symptoms are controlled, and their emotional and spiritual needs are met. While other forms of medical care focus on helping a person get better, hospice care prioritizes quality of life and comfort.
Hospice care can be provided in a facility or the patient’s home, and it’s customized to suit the level of care the patient requires. Many people fear hospice care and what it could mean for themselves and their loved ones, but you might feel much-needed peace of mind knowing the following information isn’t correct.
Myth: You Have to Enter a Facility
You want to be comfortable during the last days of your life, and you might worry that won’t be achievable unless you’re in your home environment. When you request hospice services from a home care service provider like Husky Senior Care, you don’t have to enter a facility. You can stay at home where you feel comfortable, and skilled hospice nurses will visit to provide the care you need, including assistance with feeding, toileting, medication, and bed baths.
Myth: You Have to Be Old to Receive Hospice Care
While many older adults do receive hospice care, they aren’t the only age group eligible for this high-quality level of care. Hospice care is available for anyone suffering from a terminal illness as long as they meet eligibility criteria. This criterion is outlined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, including having a hospice physician certifying a patient as terminally ill with a prognosis of six months or less.
Myth: You Can’t Leave Hospice Care
If you enter into a hospice care program in a facility or your own home, you might assume that you must go through with the program until the end. Believing you must receive hospice care can cause a great deal of stress, but you have rights and freedoms from start to finish. You are free to leave your hospice program at any time and for any reason, and you may re-enroll in a program if you still meet the criteria.
Myth: You Can’t Volunteer for Hospice Care
While physicians typically determine a patient’s eligibility for hospice care, it’s not their decision alone. If you have received a terminal illness diagnosis, such as cancer, and wish to start discussions around future care, you’re within your rights to do so. You can even contact hospice facilities directly to learn more about their services and operations.
Myth: You Can Only Enter Hospice Care If You Have Cancer
While it’s true that cancer is one of the most common diseases in adults requiring palliative care, it’s not the only one. According to the World Health Organization, 38.5% of adults receiving care have cardiovascular diseases, followed by cancer in 34% of cases and chronic respiratory diseases in 10.3% of cases. Many adults also enter hospice care for kidney failure, AIDS, diabetes, dementia, and other chronic conditions for which there is no cure.
Misinformation about hospice care might prevent you from accessing the help you need to ensure your comfort. If you have a non-curable illness and meet the eligibility criteria for palliative treatment, it can be worth learning more about your care options for comfort and peace in your final days.