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Myths of Hospice answered

When people hear the word Hospice they have all kinds of ideas of what hospice means in their mind. There are a lot of misunderstandings of what hospice means, and how it operates and what kind of patients are hospice patients. Here as a few myths of hospice and if they are real or just a misunderstanding of hospice. The number one myth of hospice is hospice is a place to go to die. This is not true.

Hospice is implemented wherever the need exist and usually where the patient lives. Recognizing that terminally ill people may live alone, or with family members unable to provide care, many hospices coordinate community resources to make home care possible. Should home care not be possible, they help to find an alternative location where the patient can safely receive care. In addition, many people are on hospice for many years. Hospice is to help individuals that have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and the doctor has given them a life expectancy of a year or less.

Many people believe hospice is only for cancer patients. This is not true. More than one-half of hospice patients nation-wide have diagnoses other then cancer. There is an increase of hospice serving families coping with the end-stage of diseases, like emphysema, Alzheimer's, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular diseases. Hospice is serious medicine. Most hospices are Medicare-certified, requiring that they employ experienced medical and nursing personnel with skills in symptom control. Hospices offer state-of-the-art palliative care, using advanced technologies to prevent or alleviate distressing symptoms.

Another myth of hospice- hospice is only for old people. Once again a myth about hospice care that is not a true. A majority of hospice patients are older, there are hospice patients of all ages, and 29% of them are under the age of 65. While managed care organizations (MCOs) are not required to include hospice coverage, Medicare beneficiaries can use their Medicare hospice benefit anytime, anywhere they choose. They are not locked into the end-of-life services offered or not offered by the MCOs. On the other hand, those under 65 are confined to the MCOs services, but most provide at least some coverage for hospice.

A majority of people believe that hospice is only for dying people or for people who can accept death. This is not true. Hospice is a family-centered of care, and focuses on the grieving family as much as on the terminal patient. While those affected by terminal illness struggle to come to terms with death, hospices gently help them find their way at their own speed. Many hospices welcome inquiries from families who are unsure about their needs and preferences. Hospice staff is readily available to discuss all options and to facilitate family decisions.

Another myth of hospice is, hospice is for when there is no hope. When death is in sight, there are two options: submit without hope or live life as fully as ever until the end. The gift of hospice is to help families see how much can be shared at the end of life through personal and spiritual connections often left behind. Many family members look back on their hospice experience with gratitude and with the knowledge that everything possible was done towards a peaceful death. Hospice has no financial burdens that are incurred by the family; this is a sharp contrast to the huge financial expenses at the end of life which may be incurred when hospice is not used.

There are many hospices in Florida and the Orlando area. VITAS Innovative Hospice Care at http://www.vitas.com, Hospice of Orange-Osceola at http://www.samcarehospice.com, to name a couple. There are twenty-five hospice care companies in Orlando, Florida.