Hospice care myths debunked

For many people, the word “hospice” has a decidedly negative connotation. Because this specialized care is specifically designed for people who are approaching the end of their lives, hospice is sometimes misunderstood to be neglect or even care designed to hasten life. Of course, neither of these myths is true.

Hospice care can dramatically improve quality of life, reduce pain, and generally make life more comfortable and pleasant for the patient, their caregivers, and family. Its purpose is to provide compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible.

Here are just a few more myths dispelled regarding hospice care:


Hospice is a place.


Hospice is a form of high-quality care focused on comfort and quality of life near the end of life. Hospice care can be provided anywhere the patient is – at home, in an assisted-living or nursing-home community, in the hospital or in a specialized hospice center. Hospice care begins when the physician feels your loved one has about six months to live if their illness follows its normal course.

Hospice addresses the patient and loved ones’ physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs, and those of your close family members or caregivers.


Hospice means giving up hope.


Hospice helps patients and loved ones change what they hope for, focusing on maximizing quality of life − based on individual choices and preferences − so patients can live as fully as possible for as long as possible.

Hospice can also extend life by making patients more comfortable, allowing them to participate in more meaningful activities and interactions with family and friends and know that they will have a more peaceful death.


Hospice care includes a live-in caregiver.


Hospice does include periodic visits by caregivers, but not live-in help. Staff is available by phone at any time for guidance, support, or home visits as needed. Hospice typically includes visits from doctors and nurses, as well as home health aides, social workers, spiritual support counselors, and trained volunteers, depending on the patient’s individual needs. Some hospices also offer the comfort of massage and music therapy where appropriate.


Hospice care is expensive.


Hospice is typically covered by most insurance plans. Because many hospice patients are over age 65, they’re also entitled to Medicare benefits which cover hospice costs. Hospice care is also covered by Medicaid, the Veterans’ Administration, and many commercial insurers, which means many families incur no financial burden from hospice.

If your parent or loved one has reached a point where you’re considering hospice care, it’s time to evaluate and select a facility that can help. State nursing centers managed by American Health Corporation – including three locations in Alabama – offer the highest quality healthcare nearby and offer programs to help patients and families make difficult end-of-life decisions.

Contact the American Health Corporation facility in your area today for more information or to schedule a guided tour:

Oak Trace (Bessemer, AL) 205-428-9383

Colonial Haven (Greensboro, AL) 334-624-3054

Perry County Nursing Home (Marion, AL) 334-683-9696