The New Year is here, and our resolution is to set the record straight about Hospice care – this year, this decade, and always. To kick off 2020, we’re giving Orange and Sullivan counties, a clear, factual look at Hospice, allowing residents to accurately see the services we provide the community – with 20/20 vision. Let’s start by debunking some common myths about Hospice care.

Myth: Hospice Means Giving Up.
An unfortunate misconception about Hospice care is that it is for patients who have given up on life or families that have given up on their loved ones. In reality, the goal of Hospice care is to make the final months of a terminally ill patient’s life worth living. To learn more about how Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties can enhance a patient’s quality of life, click here and view Hospice Experience.

Myth: Hospice is only for people who have a few days to live.
Many erroneously believe that Hospice is only for patients who are about to die. In reality, patients can receive Hospice care once a cure is no longer possible and a prognosis of six months or fewer is given. Unfortunately, because of this misconception, many people enter the program too late to fully benefit from the services available to them and their families. “I wish I called sooner” is a common statement made by family members of Hospice patients. For more information on when it might be time to consider Hospice care, click here.

Myth: Hospice Care Benefits Only the Patient.
Hospice is about emotional and spiritual care as much as it is palliative care. Many people mistakenly believe Hospice care extends only to the patient, but Hospice grief counselors are present throughout care and for the duration of the grieving process, offering emotional support to patients’ families. To learn more about the benefits of Hospice care to families and caregivers, click here.

Myth: Hospice is Expensive.
When considering Hospice, many patients and their families mistakenly believe care will be expensive. The truth is that Hospice care is covered by Medicare/Medicaid as well as many private insurance companies. Services are offered as long as needed by the patient.

Myth: Hospice Care Must Be Given In A Hospital.
Patients are sometimes apprehensive about Hospice care because they fear being removed from their homes. To receive Hospice care, however, Patients need not be in a medical facility or nursing home. In fact, the majority of Hospice care is administered in patients’ homes.

Myth: Only A Doctor Can Make a Hospice Referral.
While doctors can refer patients for Hospice care, they are not the only ones able to do so. It is a patient’s right to decide when he or she is ready for Hospice, and patients, their families, and their friends can all make referrals. To make a referral, click here.

Myth: Only Cancer Patients Are Eligible for Hospice Care.
A common misconception about Hospice care is that it is available only to patients suffering from cancer. Hospice is, in fact, available to any terminal patient. If a patient has a life-limiting illness or disease, he or she can receive Hospice care.

Myth: Hospice is a place.
While Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties does operate the Kaplan Family Hospice Residence, Hospice is a philosophy of care, not a place. Patients can receive Hospice care wherever they live – usually in their homes, but also in nursing homes and adult care facilities.

Myth: Hospice requires a DNR to receive services.
The goal of Hospice is patient comfort, with the patient directing care. Hospice does not require a Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) for patients to receive care. While many patients on hospice elect to have a DNR in place, it is not the right choice for everyone.

Myth: Once a patient comes to Hospice they can no longer receive care from their primary care physician or return to treatment.
Hospice works closely with primary physicians and considers the patient-physician relationship to be of the highest priority. Patients remain in control of their care at all times. Beyond primary care physicians, patients can elect to leave Hospice and return to treatments, at any time.

Myth: Hospice Care Ends, When the Patient Passes Away.
Hospice care doesn’t end at end of life. Instead, it shifts focus to the family’s bereavement. These grief-counseling services can continue for the duration of the grieving process, after the passing of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties’ bereavement services, click here.