Challenging the Misconceptions of Hospice Programs

By Suzanne Mayo, administrator, Abramson Hospice

Hospice is one of those words that people are afraid to say. When the concept of hospice care is discussed among family members, or between a doctor and a patient, it often triggers feelings of fear or dread. The term hospice also may evoke a feeling that one is “giving up on life.” Still others might be concerned about possible mistreatment or deprivation of care. It is important to clarify and challenge the myths and fears that may be associated with hospice programs in order to make an educated and informed decision related to your loved one’s care.

Here are some things to know about hospice care:

  1. Hospice care does not hasten or postpone dying, but provides specialized care and support to give comfort to both the patient and their family members.

  2. Hospice is not just for cancer patients or for those who are close to death or actively dying, but also for individuals with chronic disease who need help managing their illness.

  3. Hospice is not about giving up. It is about living and maintaining one’s dignity while promoting comfort and peace for the patient and their family.

  4. Hospice care can reduce stress to patients and caregivers and help manage painful symptoms to prevent unnecessary suffering.

  5. To develop a person-centered care plan, hospice professionals will focus on incorporating the patient’s interests and celebrating their life.

Hospice professionals strongly believe in the importance of honoring life. It is a specialty that requires nurses, aides and other support staff to be highly skilled and caring. Many families often find their original perception of hospice is dramatically changed after they experience the philosophy and support of a quality hospice team.

Choosing the best course of healthcare for your loved one is often a difficult and overwhelming decision. It is important to research possible hospice providers by interviewing the companies, and speaking to trusted professionals, friends, and advisors. When the end of life is near, hospice care can provide the comfort and support that you and your loved one needs.