(StatePoint) Hospice is intended to provide comfort and support to patients at the end of their life so that they can experience their remaining time in the best ways possible. Experts say that unfortunately, misconceptions about hospice often lead people to make uninformed decisions at a critical, complex juncture in their lives.
“There is often an idea that hospice equates to giving up. But hospice is actually about taking control,” says Paul Mastrapa, president and chief executive officer of Interim HealthCare Inc. “It’s the job of the hospice team to understand what a patient’s goals for end-of-life care are, and help them live that last trajectory of their life the way they want to.”
To help patients, their caregivers and family members, and those in the healthcare industry better understand the services and benefits hospice provides, Interim HealthCare is dispelling some of the most common misconceptions:
Myth: Hospice means giving up.
Fact: The primary goal of hospice is delivering comfort, support and specialized medical care to those ready to forgo curative treatment. Research has shown that a person who spends time on hospice has a greater quality of life at the end of their life. And while the goal is not to prolong life, there are statistics that show that hospice gives patients more time compared to patients who had the same disease trajectory and didn’t receive hospice.
Myth: Hospice is only appropriate for the last few days of life.
Fact: Hospice can actually last for months, and entering hospice sooner rather than later translates to fewer hospitalizations, better symptom relief and greater comfort.
Myth: You must give up all your medications.
Fact: While the hospice care team will make recommendations about which medications are still beneficial to a patient at their stage of illness, patients and families get the final say.
Myth: Hospice is a place.
Fact: Hospice can entail in-patient care, but more typically, services are delivered wherever a patient calls home. The nurse, social worker, spiritual care provider, aide and other members of the hospice care team meet the patient where they are, be that in a residential home, an assisted living community or in another institutional setting.
Myth: Hospice is only for patients with specific diseases.
Fact: Anyone with a life-limiting chronic disease, from congestive heart failure to pulmonary disease to Alzheimer’s, can choose hospice.
Myth: Hospice ends when the patient dies.
Fact: Hospice providers often offer support to those who have lost a loved one. In the case of Interim HealthCare, bereavement services are offered for 13 months.
Myth: Hospice work is draining.
Fact: When done right, hospice work can be extremely rewarding. Hospice care workers help patients and families find peace of mind, and reach a place of acceptance during a complicated and emotional time in their lives. Hospice workers believe in the mission of providing compassionate, patient-centric medical care and support to those at the end of their life, and they’re given a voice in the individualized care they provide.
The hospice market is the second-fastest growing healthcare segment nationwide, according to Bank of America research, which translates to a growing number of job opportunities. Hospice providers are currently recruiting candidates just starting out in their career and those looking to make a change. To learn more, visit careers.interimhealthcare.com.
For more information about hospice care services for yourself or a family member, visit https://www.interimhealthcare.com/services/hospice/.
“Although people don’t always feel comfortable talking about end-of-life care, having these conversations can ensure one’s final days are peaceful and fulfilling,” says Mastrapa.