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Thursday November 30, 2023

Hospice is an important service and could be of great benefit to your family, but there are lots of misconceptions about hospice. So, let’s take a few minutes to clear up some common misconceptions. 

Hospice is just for a person’s last days/hours of life. FALSE

Hospice services will be suggested by your loved one’s physician when they believe your loved one could pass within the next 6 months. This does not mean they are guaranteed to pass within 6 months. If the patient lives past the initial 6 months, they are not necessarily discharged. The physician will recertify that the patient still meets qualifications and is still expected to pass in the next 6 months. People can still be fully mobile and hospice appropriate. Your loved one could even still potentially attend Page Robbins while receiving services from a hospice provider. 

Starting hospice services will hasten my loved one’s death. FALSE

Starting hospice services does not hasten a person’s death. Instead, hospice care focuses on dignity, comfort and quality of life. Hospice providers do not give any medications to speed up the process, but they are able to give medications to improve the patient’s comfort level.   

My loved one must be in a nursing home to get hospice services. FALSE

Hospice services can travel to you, wherever you are. They visit patients in residential homes, assisted living facilities, memory care, or nursing homes. In the Memphis area also have two hospice homes. These hospice houses serve those whose home environment is not a good option for end-of-life care.

Hospice care is expensive. FALSE

Many times, hospice care can be fully covered by Medicare or other insurance. Hospice benefits will also cover nursing services, certifies nursing assistant services, social work services, bereavement counselors, incontinence products, medications related to the terminal diagnosis, and quick access to medical equipment. 

Starting hospice care for my loved ones means that I no longer can make decisions for them. FALSE

The family and/or Power of Attorney still has decision making ability. The POA can decide at any time to discontinue hospice services, transfer to the hospital, etc. 

The physician will tell us when it is time for hospice services. MAYBE

Often the primary care physician or hospital physician will be the one to initiate this conversation with families when hospice is appropriate. But there are times that they do not. They may not have spent enough time around your loved one to be aware of the change. The family can always call their physician to request a hospice referral. 

In Memphis there are multiple quality hospice care providers. If you are interested in learning more about hospice, you can call any hospice agency for a consult, which is usually provided at no charge. Here are some in our area to help you get started: 

Accent Care 662-801-3962
Baptist Trinity Home Care and Hospice 901-767-6767
Crossroads Hospice 901-382-9292
Hope Hospice and Palliative Care 901-560-3601
Methodist Alliance Health Services 901-516-1400 

Written by Sheri Wammack, LBSW