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Common Myths About Hospice Care

While hospice care has grown in our local area and across the state and country, there are still many misunderstandings or myths about hospice care. Cedar Valley Hospice strives to increase awareness of how beneficial hospice care is in our community. The following are common myths about hospice.

Myth: Hospice is where you go when there’s nothing left a doctor can do.
Fact: Hospice is an approach to care where a care team, including the patient’s doctor, makes decisions to improve a patient’s quality of life by enhancing their physical, emotional, spiritual and social well being.

Myth: Hospice is only for the last few days.
Fact: Hospice care is designed for those with a life expectancy of 6 months or less. It is also focused on supporting, educating and caring for the entire family so that “I wish we had called sooner” is not a position you will be in.

Myth: Hospice care is only for people with cancer.
Fact: Less than 50 percent of those in hospice care at Cedar Valley Hospice and in hospice programs across the country have cancer. We see patients with a variety of different medical conditions and are experts at managing symptoms of these life threatening diseases.

Myth: Being admitted to hospice means you are giving up.
Fact: Just the opposite. Hospice allows patients to gain control over the last months of their lives. They get to decide where and with whom they will spend this time.

Myth: Hospice care starts very close to death and ends once a patient has died.
Fact: Any patient with a projected life expectancy of six months or less can be admitted to hospice. Hospice care also continues in the form of bereavement and grief support for the family and friends of a patient for any period of time after they die.

Myth: Hospice care is too expensive.
Fact: Most private insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid cover many aspects of hospice care. Cedar Valley Hospice will never deny a patient hospice services, even if they cannot pay for it.

Myth: Hospice patients cannot stay with their doctor.
Fact: Cedar Valley Hospice keeps each patient’s physician as part of the care team, meaning the doctor you trust and have built a relationship with will still be there.

Myth: You have to sign a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) and Hospices Overmedicate Patients
Fact: Hospice patients have a choice when it comes to having CPR performed. The staff members at Cedar Valley Hospice are experts in helping control symptoms and pain at end of life, with a focus on quality of life. Cedar Valley Hospice purchases medications locally in our communities, and has 24/7 access.

Myth: Only a patient’s physician can decide it is time for hospice care.
Fact: Anyone – family members, friends, clergy, doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals  – can make a referral to Cedar Valley Hospice. A physician generally makes the referral, but a patient has the right to choose. The patient’s physician certifies after a determination of eligibility.

Myth: Only elderly people are in hospice care.
Fact: Hospice is available to anyone with a life expectancy of six months or less, regardless of age.

For more information about what hospice care is really like, contact Cedar Valley Hospice today.