There are many questions and myths about hospice with all sensitivity and caution, we wish to attempt our outmost ability to clarify what hospice is from the onset. We therefore, would like to address the commonly asked questions as stated below. They will give you a better understanding of what hospice care is and how it can benefit your family.
If you still have questions related to hospice care, please get in touch with our team.
- What is hospice care?
- Is hospice only for people who are dying?
- Who is best suited for hospice care?
- Isn’t using hospice the same as “giving up”?
- Should we wait for the doctor to suggest hospice?
- When is the best time to start hospice care?
- Who pays for hospice care?
- Once you begin hospice care, can you leave the program?
- Is hospice a place?
- Does hospice only care for cancer patients?
- Is hospice only for housebound or bed-ridden people?
- Does hospice “dope people up” so they become addicted or sleep all the time?
What is hospice care?
One of the most common questions we receive is “what is hospice care?” There is often confusion regarding what hospice care is and what it is not.
Hospice is a philosophy of care. It treats the person rather than the disease and focuses on quality of life. It surrounds the patient and family with a team consisting of professionals who not only address physical distress, but emotional and spiritual issues as well. Hospice care is patient-centred because the needs of the patient and family drive the activities of the hospice team.
It is also important to make clear what hospice is not – hospice is not hastening death. Instead, at Starlight Oasis of Hope Hospice, it is about celebrating what time the patient has left, and making them as comfortable as possible. Hospice care is delivered at patients’ home or in an inpatient unit. Hospice is not the building but the concept of care.
Is hospice only for people who are dying?
Hospice is for people who have a limited life expectancy. Hospice is for patients whose condition is such that a doctor would not be surprised if the patient died within the next six months. This doesn’t mean the patient is going to die in the next six months–it simply means that he or she has a condition that makes dying a realistic possibility. On the other hand, palliative care offers somewhat similar services but for patients who will not necessarily die within the next six months. Learn about the differences between hospice and palliative care.
Who is best suited for hospice care?
Hospice patients are those with very complex and serious medical conditions. Usually they have diseases that are life threatening and make day-to-day living very uncomfortable as their distresses may be stemming from physical, emotional, or spiritual. Some are in pain. Others experience difficult symptoms such as nausea, constipation, extreme fatigue, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may be caused by the disease, or they may have been caused by treatments intended to cure the disease.
Often patients turn to hospice because they are anxious or depressed, or they are feeling spiritually distressed because of their medical condition. Hospice specializes in easing pain, discomfort, and distress on all levels. At Starlight we focus on relieving patients from ‘Total Pain’ as our multidisciplinary teams apply a holistic approach to each patient situation and circumstances. The care provided by hospice is often helpful for conditions such as cancer, heart disease, kidney disease and other life limiting illnesses. Seriously ill patients who have decided that their priority is to have the best quality of life possible; these are people best suited for hospice care.
Take the quiz to see if hospice is a good fit for you, your loved one, or your patient. You can also take a look at the hospice eligibility criteria.
Isn’t using hospice the same as “giving up”?
Not at all! This is one of the most common questions about hospice but it is actually a misconception. Although your loved one’s condition may have reached a point that a cure is not likely—or not worth the side effects of treatment—that does not mean there is nothing left to do. In fact, an emphasis on quality of life and easing pain and distress often allows the patient to spend his or her last months focusing on the things that are ultimately the most important and meaningful.
With the expert guidance of a nurse and case manager, as well as the assistance of community health assistant(workers), social workers, and chaplains, patients and families find they can focus on their relationships, healing old wounds and building wonderful memories together. Far from giving up, hospice helps families truly live well and support each other during a stressful, yet very natural family life passage. Learn more about common hospice myths and misconceptions.
Should we wait for the doctor to suggest hospice?
If you think your loved one and family might benefit from the support of home visits from staff who specialize in pain control and the easing of distress, ask your doctor if hospice might be something to consider now, or in the near future.
If you are honest with yourself and believe your loved one could die in the next six to twelve months, ask the doctor if he or she agrees. If the answer is yes, then it’s probably a good time to begin a discussion about hospice. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us using the Help Bar above. We would be happy to talk with you or do an informational home visit—no obligation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the article, “When is it time for hospice?”
When is the best time to start hospice care?
Most patients and families who receive hospice care say they wish they had known about it earlier because they needed the help much sooner. Research has shown that hospice can increase both the quality of life and how long a patient lives. Families who receive hospice near the very end–just a few days to a week–have a harder time adjusting during the bereavement period than those whose loved one received hospice care for weeks and months before passing on.
If you think your family and the person you care for could benefit from pain or symptom management, assistance with bathing and grooming, emotional and spiritual support, and telephone access to caregiving advice, ask your physician if you should consider hospice. It is better to ask sooner so you do not regret having missed the support that hospice has to offer. If you would like more information on when to start hospice, please fill out this form to contact us. Starlight professionals will respond to your inquiry promptly.
Who pays for hospice care?
The question of “who pays for hospice care” is one that comes up frequently. In fact, most patients and family caregivers will ask about their financial options almost right away. This is understandable, as worrying about paying for hospice care is very common. Hospice care is rendered free of charge. Not only are the services of the hospice staff entirely covered, but medical supplies and prescriptions relating to pain and comfort management are also covered. However, in order to maintain an ongoing service and maintain consistency of care, we urge people to voluntarily raise funds and donate to Starlight so we can continue to take care of the next patients who seek our services. Should you wish to support us click the Donate button above or get in touch with our team, we thank you in advance for your generosity.
If you have more questions about who pays for hospice care, please contact our team.
Once you begin hospice care, can you leave the program?
A person may sign out of the hospice program for a variety of reasons, such as resuming aggressive curative treatment or pursuing experimental measures. Or, if a patient shows signs of recovery and no longer meets the 6month guideline, he or she can be discharged from hospice care and return to the program when the illness has progressed at a later time. Learn more about when and how a patient is discharged from hospice
Is hospice a place?
Hospice is not a place – it’s a service. Hospice brings physical, emotional, and spiritual care and support to wherever our patients call home.
Does hospice only care for cancer patients?
Hospice cares for patients with any life-limiting illness, not just for cancer patients. However, due to limited resources, we at Starlight Oasis of Hope Hospice will be initially taking care of cancer patients and will cascade our services to other patients with other serious illnesses at the later stage and the relevant authorities and members of public will be informed of such developments.
Is hospice only for housebound or bed-ridden people?
Hospice is not only for those who are housebound or bedridden; most are living their day-to-day lives. Care is given wherever the patient lives: in their home, long-term care facilities, assisted living or retirement communities, rest homes, hospitals or in-patient hospice unit.
Does hospice “dope people up” so they become addicted or sleep all the time?
When patients have a legitimate need for pain medication, they do not become addicted to it. Starlight Hospice has the expertise to manage pain so that patients are comfortable yet alert and are able to enjoy each day to the fullest extent possible, given their medical condition.
If you still have questions related to hospice care, please get in touch with our team.