10 Myths About Hospice Care

Myth #1 – Hospice is for people who have “no hope.”

With hospice, the miracle isn’t in the cure, it’s in the caring. Because patients get substantial relief from pain and other symptoms — and their families are supported by a caring hospice team — they can choose exactly how they will spend their final weeks or months of life. This means they can share quality family time and have a meaningful, dignified, peaceful end-of-life experience.

Myth #2 – Hospice is a place.

Hospice is a philosophy of care, not a place. Patients can receive hospice care wherever they live – usually in their own homes, but also in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or at our inpatient facility, the Charles M. & Cara Lou Chapman Hospice Home.

Myth #3 – Hospice is only for people with cancer.

Though many patients do have cancer, hospice serves terminally ill people of all ages, with all types of progressive diseases. These include heart, lung, kidney, vascular and neurological diseases, as well as AIDS and Alzheimer’s.

Myth #4 – Hospice is for people who have only a few days to live.

Hospice care can be provided when a cure is no longer possible and it is believed a patient has six months or less to live. Although it is never too late to seek hospice care, unfortunately, many people enter the program too late to fully benefit from the many services available to them and their families. Also, research has shown that terminally ill patients under hospice care live an average of 29 days longer than those who do not seek palliative care.

Myth #5 – Hospice requires family members to be available to provide care.

While caregivers are usually trained to care for their loved ones at home – with the support of their Hospice team and 24-hour, on-call availability to a hospice nurse – there are many cases when this is not possible. Patients who live alone or don’t have family available to assist them can receive care at the Charles M. & Cara Lou Chapman Hospice Home or in a hospital or a long-term care facility.

Myth #6 – I have to change physicians when I enter hospice care.

Our program utilizes a physician as our medical director, but patients are encouraged to remain under the care of their primary care physician if they so choose. Furthermore, the patient, or a designated loved one, may continue to make their own decisions about their medical treatment.

Myth #7 – Hospice “dopes 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. The clinical staff at CWHP has extensive experience in managing pain, so in most cases patients are comfortable, yet alert, and able to enjoy each day to the fullest extent possible given the circumstances of their medical condition.

Myth #8 – Hospice care is expensive.

Hospice care is considerably less costly than care provided in other medical settings. It is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances. Furthermore, because the Central Wyoming Hospice & Transitions Program is a non-profit agency which receives generous support from the community, no one is ever turned away because of an inability to pay.

Myth #9 – Hospice can’t talk to patients until they have a referral from their physician.

We recognizes that end-of-life issues are diverse and can be confusing and stressful. We encourage patients and families to consult with us earlier, as opposed to later, so they are aware of the various options available to them during the final weeks and months of life. While a physician referral is ultimately required for admission to the hospice program, families can call Central Wyoming Hospice Program anytime for advice or information about any end-of-life concern. Our phone number is 307-577-4832.

Myth #10 – Hospice is only for people who will accept that they are dying.

Terminally ill patients and their families often struggle to come to terms with their limited life expectancies. However, hospice can help them address their fears, feelings and concerns and show them how to re-define hope within the context of their disease and personal lifestyles. Hospice has helped guide thousands of families through this once-in-a-lifetime experience and recognizes that every patient and family is unique. We work with each one in whatever ways they find most helpful.

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Central Wyoming Hospice & Transitions (CWHTP) depends upon donations from individuals and businesses, as well as grants and fundraisers to offset the ever increasing gap between third party reimbursements and the actual costs of providing services.

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