A physician decides whether a patient should receive hospice care and which agency should provide that care. Fact: The role of the physician is to recommend care, whether hospice or traditional curative care. It is the individual’s right (or in some cases the right of the person who holds power of attorney) and decision to determine when hospice is appropriate and which program suits his or her needs. Before entering a hospice a physician must certify that a patient has been diagnosed with a serious illness and has a possible life expectancy of six months or less. To be eligible for hospice care, an individual must be bedridden. Fact: Hospice care is appropriate at the time of the serious illness prognosis, regardless of the person’s physical condition. Many hospice patients continue to lead productive and rewarding lives. All hospice programs are the same. Fact: All licensed hospice programs must provide certain services, but the range of support services and programs may differ. Some hospice programs are non-profit (Help for Health). Other hospices are forprofit. Hospice ends when the patient dies. Fact: All hospice programs are required to provide bereavement services for loved ones for up to one year following the death of the patient. In some cases, bereavement support continues beyond that time frame. A person needs Medicare or Medicaid to be able to afford hospice services. Fact: Insurance coverage for hospice is available through Medicare and Medicaid, as well as most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations. In addition, through community contributions, memorial donations, and foundation gifts, Help for Health is still able to provide care to patients who lack sufficient payment options. Call with questions and referrals 307-856-1206 HELP FOR HEALTH ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 5 IMPORTANT HOSPICE FACTS 1. Hospice is NOT only for the last few days of life. 2. An individual CAN keep their own doctor once enrolled in hospice. 3. Choosing hospice means SHIFTING hope. 4. Morphine does NOT hasten death. 5. Choosing hospice RELIEVES suffering and offers choices. 1240 College View Drive, Riverton, WY 82501 Phone-307-856-1206 A non-profit organization Dispelling 5 Common Myths Other common myths: MYTH – Hospice is just for the last days of life. Receiving hospice care does not mean the patient is giving up hope or that death is imminent. The earlier an individual receives hospice care, the more opportunity there is to stabilize their medical condition and address other needs. Often, people can feel better after admission to hospice because uncontrolled symptoms can be well managed after many months or years of being poorly managed. Hospice is a place. Fact: Hospice care usually takes place in the comfort of an individual's home, but can be provided in any environment in which a person lives, including a nursing home, assisted living facility, or residential care facility. MYTH - An individual cannot keep their own doctor once enrolled in hospice. Hospice reinforces the patient-primary physician relationship by advocating either office or home visits, according to the physician’s preference. Hospices work closely with the primary physician and consider the continuation of the patient-physician relationship to be of the highest priority. Individuals must have a Do-Not-Resuscitate to be in hospice. Fact: Hospice philosophy honors people where they are at with advanced directives. As a part of care planning the hospice team will offer support and education regarding what directives like CPR and intubation may really mean for a person with a terminal diagnosis. Often, individuals that begin hospice with CPR directives and other wishes for life saving measures will change their wishes as they learn more about the outcomes of such interventions. MYTH - Choosing hospice means giving up hope. When faced with a serious illness, many patients and family members tend to dwell on the imminent loss of life rather than on making the most of the life that remains. Hospice helps patients reclaim the spirit of life. It helps them understand that even though death can lead to sadness, anger, and pain, it can also lead to opportunities for reminiscence, laughter, reunion, and hope. MYTH – Hospice gives morphine to hasten death. Not all hospice patients are on morphine. Morphine, and other similar narcotics, are given to control pain or breathing difficulties in patients that benefit from such medication for comfort. Research has shown that morphine does not hasten death when given to provide comfort at the end of life. MYTH - Choosing hospice means stopping all medical treatment. The focus of hospice is comfort. Most medications that individuals receive provide comfort in one way or another, or may cause discomfort if removed from a patient’s regimen. Hospice allows individuals to stay on their medications as long as it is not an aggressive/curative treatment towards their hospice diagnosis. Hospice pays for all hospice/comfort related medications. Individuals may stay on medications not related to their terminal diagnosis and can expect their insurance to continue to cover those medications. Reviewing medications and appropriate treatments is on a case by case basis. Individuals always have the right to reinstate traditional care at any time, for any reason. If a person’s condition improves or the disease goes into remission, he or she can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive, curative measures, if so desired. Hospice is only for people with cancer. Fact: A large number of hospice patients have congestive heart failure, Alzheimer's disease or dementia, chronic lung disease, or other conditions. Individuals can only receive hospice services for a limited amount of time. Fact: The Medicare benefit, and most private insurance, pays for hospice care as long as the patient continues to meets the criteria necessary. Patients may come on and off hospice care, and re-enroll in hospice care, as needed. Hospice is just for the patient. Fact: Hospice focuses on comfort, dignity, and emotional support. The quality of life for the patient, family members and other caregivers, is the highest priority. After six months, patients are no longer eligible to receive hospice care. Fact: According to the Medicare hospice program, services may be provided to seriously ill individuals with a life expectancy of six months or less. However, if the person lives beyond the initial six months, he or she can continue receiving hospice care as long as the attending physician recertifies that the patient is seriously ill.