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April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), designed to “inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.” Being diagnosed with a terminal illness can be overwhelming for individuals and their families.
When diagnosed with a terminal illness, knowing where to turn next can be difficult. Furthermore, many people have misconceptions about hospice and when it should be introduced. This article will break down these common misconceptions surrounding hospice.
Hospice care is for people with a prognosis of 6 months or less if their disease runs its natural course. This type of care focuses on making those with a terminal illness as comfortable and pain-free as possible. Hospice care includes social, medical, emotional, and spiritual support. The goal of hospice care is to provide terminally ill patients the opportunity to live the last stages of their life with comfort and dignity.
Unfortunately, many common misconceptions surrounding hospice may prevent individuals from taking advantage of hospice’s many benefits. One common misconception is that “hospice is a place.” However, hospice can be provided wherever a patient is located, which sometimes includes right in their home. Another common misconception is that “hospice is giving up,” but this could not be further from the truth. Many people end up living longer in hospice or sometimes graduate from hospice and no longer qualify.
While on hospice, patients can choose to keep their primary care physician (PCP). Hospice care staff will work with your PCP and other healthcare professionals to provide collaborative care. Some people also avoid hospice care because they feel it is “pointless” as their illness is terminal. While curative treatment may no longer be an option, that doesn’t mean other efforts serve no purpose. Living with a terminal illness can often cause individuals lots of pain. That’s why hospice care is a great option, as it serves to make individuals as comfortable and pain-free as possible. These supportive measures are key in the final stages of a person’s life.
Instead of waiting until the very end to receive hospice care, individuals with a terminal illness can fully benefit from hospice care sooner rather than later. Others may decide to stop hospice to try another experimental treatment. Hospice can be designed to work for each patient’s individual needs. With hospice, you or your loved one are in the “driver’s seat” of your own healthcare decisions.
Hospice care is a great healthcare option when curative treatment is no longer viable. Furthermore, hospice isn’t just for the last days or weeks of life. Hospice can support individuals for several months. Don’t let the common misconceptions surrounding hospice hold you or a loved one back from receiving supportive care.
Our care team supports patients in determining their own goals of care during the final stages of their illness. Our hospice care service focuses on comfort, support, quality of life, and education. Contact us today to discuss your questions and personal needs.