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Considering the Hospice Option

Myths and Benefits of Hospice Care

All aspects of a person's life are cared for by hospice. This includes physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Your care plan will be specific to your individual needs for pain management and symptom relief. This includes all the palliative medications and therapies you need. The hospice team will provide regular visits and all the care and services you desire. Hospice staff will be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Although hospice care has many benefits, some people may be reluctant to seek this care due to some common myths. For example, one myth is that receiving hospice care causes death to come sooner.
However, recent research has shown that terminally ill people who received hospice care lived 29 days longer, on average, than those who did not have hospice care toward the end of life. Hospice focuses on improving the quality of remaining life so people can enjoy that time with family and friends, and also experience a natural, pain-free death.
Another misconception is that hospice makes people give up hope when they should continue to fight. However, if someone is continuing with aggressive, curative treatment for an illness that has become untreatable, holding on to false hope can make one's final days more painful and anxious.
Similarly, terminally ill people may experience less anxiety by refocusing their hope on the time they have remaining with those they love and in the comfort of their own home.
Other myths surround what may happen if you have lived longer than the six-month time frame your healthcare provider estimated or if your condition improves. If your condition improves or if you change your mind and want to return to curative treatment, you can go on and off hospice care as needed. You can also re-enter the hospital for certain treatment if you feel it is improving your quality of life. Also, if you live longer than the six-month time frame, you can still receive hospice care for as long as necessary.
It's also important to note that people who continue with curative treatment beyond what is necessary may experience complications of overtreatment. By choosing to receive palliative care through hospice in your own home, you will likely receive more monitoring than you would in a hospital and also receive relief from your symptoms.
Hospice is also able to provide emotional and spiritual needs for you and your loved ones that a hospital can't quite provide. This type of support can be a huge source of relief, as you may feel like you are burdening those you love. Hospice helps to lift this burden off you and your loved ones.
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