“The Hospice gives up.” “The hospice is too expensive.” Perhaps you have heard these statements about palliative care at some point. Perhaps you said them yourself. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about palliative care, so hopefully the information in this article will help clarify some of these myths.
Many believe that hospice patients must be in the final stages of death. Hospitalized patients and their families receive care for an unlimited period, depending on the evolution of the disease. There is no fixed limit on how long a patient can continue to receive palliative care services.
Medicare beneficiaries pay little or nothing for palliative care. For those without health insurance, most insurance plans, HMOs, and managed care plans cover palliative care. Your local hospice can help you with any financial questions you may have.
In many chronic and progressive diseases such as cancer, heart/lung disease or dementia, the natural disease process may eventually reach a terminal stage. Most of the time, as a disease progresses to an advanced stage, its symptoms become more intolerable and difficult to control. Therefore, a terminal illness can significantly impair a person’s functional status and quality of life. Although we do not provide curative care, studies have shown that patients with similar diagnoses live longer when they receive palliative care.
Palliative care is care designed for patients with a life-limiting illness. Hospice is not where you go to die, rather hospice professionals are trained to help patients live their lives fully, completely, and pain-free until the end of their lives. We care for patients wherever they live.
Additionally, hospices will provide bereavement support for 13 months after the death of your loved one. This support is led by the bereaved and includes mailings, phone calls, support groups and private appointments.
The right care at the right time is important. Hospice provides you and your family with compassionate care when a cure is not possible. Palliative care provides comfort and support earlier in a serious illness. Together, hospice and hospice care offer solutions beyond traditional medical care, and they are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans. Most importantly, you’ll find the high-quality, person-centered care you deserve. For more information, contact your local hospice.
Kim Huffington is an RNCHPN, CNO at Sangre de Cristo Community Care, who has been a pioneer in post-acute care since 1985. Today, it is the leading provider of palliative care, hospice and care services at home for patients with a wide range of life-limiting illnesses, including cancer, stroke and heart disease.