Contrary to what many believe, hospice is about living, not dying. “Get the facts before you need them. Hospice makes a hard reality much easier for everyone,” says Kurt Kazanowski, M.S.N., hospice expert and author of A Son’s Journey: Taking Care of Mom and Dad. Understand hospice care before you or a loved one needs it with Kazanowski’s quick guide:
Myth: Hospice means giving up.
Truth: While hospice focuses on comfort (palliative) care, not a cure, patients don’t have to be ready to die before getting the care they need or deserve. And patients can leave hospice at any time if their health improves or if they want to pursue
Myth: Hospice patients can’t go into the hospital.
Truth: A hospice patient always has the choice to go to the hospital.
Myth: It’s only for the elderly.
Truth: Hospice is for anyone with a terminal illness and a life expectancy of six months or less.
Myth: The family must sign a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order.
Truth: A patient can receive hospice care without signing a DNR. Hospices cannot discriminate against patients because of any advance directive choices.
Myth: Only a doctor can speak to hospice administrators.
Truth: Patients and families can choose to talk with a hospice anytime. However, a doctor’s order is required to admit a patient to hospice.
Myth: It’s only for people who don’t need a high level of care.
Truth: Level of care required by the patient is not a factor in admission to hospice. The medical and nursing professionals in hospice are required to have advanced training in technologies associated with palliative care.
This article is featured in the May/June 2017 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.