Common misconceptions about hospice

Many families caring for a seriously ill loved one struggle alone
unnecessarily. They miss out on vital support services because they don’t
understand what hospice can provide.

  • Home visits by a nurse to manage pain and other
    difficult symptoms.
  • Home visits by a nursing assistant to bathe
    your loved one and shampoo hair.
  • Free prescriptions as needed for keeping your
    relative comfortable and out of pain.
  • A volunteer to come give family members a break
    now and then.
  • Access to a social worker to talk about
    emotional worries or concerns.

Would these services
be helpful?

Perhaps it’s time to consider hospice.

Here are some common misconceptions.

  • Hospice
    is for someone in the last few days of life.
    Hospice is for the
    last six months of life, with more
    time available if it is needed. Ask the doctor if he or she would be surprised
    if your loved one were to die in the next year. If the doctor says no, then
    it’s time to consider hospice. (No one can predict for sure one way or the
  • Hospice
    means you are giving up.
    Hospice focuses on patient comfort and quality
    of life. Although a “cure” is no longer the goal, research shows that
    people getting “comfort care” often live longer than they would
    without it!
  • The
    doctor will call for hospice when it’s time.
    Doctors don’t like
    to “scare” patients. And, understandably, they don’t like to give bad
    news. Unless your relative has asked his or her doctor for candid feedback, the
    doctor may avoid bringing up hospice until death is very near.
  • Hospice
    means you can no longer see your doctor.
    Your relative’s
    existing doctor is still involved, collaborating with hospice in a team
    approach to care.
  • Hospice
    is a place someone goes.
    Some hospices have facilities where patients
    can move in. But the mainstay of hospice is service in the patient’s own home.
    Medical professionals make “home visits” to the patient, wherever the
    patient lives.

Hospice is only for people with cancer. Hospice is for people with any type of disease,
as long as the condition is incurable and in the advanced stage. This includes
people in late stages of chronic diseases such as dementia, heart disease, and

If your loved one has Medicare, 100% of hospice services are
covered provided he or she meets the eligibility requirements.

Would you like to explore this kind of support?
If so, give us a call at 301-593-5285 and let us help you determine if hospice is the right fit for your situation. As the Metro DC experts in aging, we at Debra Levy Eldercare Associates can explain the eligibility requirements and answer your questions so you can decide as a family. Let’s start the conversation.