About Hospice Care

What Hospice Is

Hospice is a way of providing care for a person who is terminally ill. Hospice is not a place to stay, like a hospital or nursing home.

Hospice is a program that focuses on quality of life. It is most helpful during the final six months of life expectancy. Hospice is not a “death bed” service for people in the last 48 hours of life.

Hospice believes in the right of people to know accurately and honestly what is happening to them so they can choose how they want to spend the remaining amount of time in the most purposeful and meaningful ways. Hospice is not a place to send dying people so they won’t have to know what is happening to them.

Hospice is for people who have any terminal illness. Hospice is not just for cancer patients.

Hospice is a way to deal realistically with a fatal disease. It offers the hope of dignity and comfort. Hospice is not a resignation to hopelessness and helplessness.

Hospice is a family-oriented program that helps families and/or friends care for their loved one in the home. Hospice is not a substitute for the family or the family’s care.

Hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and many other insurance providers. No patient is ever denied care if he or she is unable to pay. Hospice is not expensive.

Hospice neither hastens nor prolongs death. Hospice lets nature take its course. Hospice is not euthanasia.


Hospice Myths

Myth: Hospice is where you go when there is "nothing else to be done." Hospice is the "something more" that can be done for the patient and the family when the illness cannot be cured. It is a concept based on comfort-oriented care. Referral into hospice is a movement into another mode of therapy, which may be more appropriate for terminal care.

Myth: Families should be isolated from a dying patient. Hospice staff believe that when family members (including children) experience the dying process in a caring environment, it helps counteract the fear of their own mortality and the mortality of their loved one.

Myth: Hospice care is expensive. Studies have shown hospice care to be no more costly than conventional care. Frequently it is less expensive during the last six months of life. Less high-cost technology is used, and family, friends, and volunteers provide 90% of the day-to-day patient care at home.

Myth: You can't keep your own doctor if you enter hospice. Hospice physicians work closely with your doctor of choice to determine a plan of care.