Dispelling 10 Top Hospice Myths
It has been more than a year since the Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters last aired, leaving a void in people’s need to know what is true or false. So today, we take up the reins and set the record straight with regard to hospice myths.
Top 10 Hospice Myths Debunked
Myth #1: Hospice is a place.
Hospice is not a place but a philosophy of care. Wherever a patient calls home is where hospice care is provided: residence, assisted living facility, nursing home, inpatient facility (hospice house) or hospital.
Myth #2: Hospice patients cannot live longer than six months.
Once an individual becomes a patient at Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice or LifePath Hospice, he or she continues to receive services for as long as they are required and appropriate. Hospice services are NOT discontinued unless they are no longer necessary or appropriate, or the patient chooses to stop them. If a patient makes this decision, a revocation form is signed.
Although many patients do have cancer, Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice serve terminally ill patients of all ages, with all types of progressive and chronic diseases. Many of our patients are able to enjoy life as much as they did before their diagnoses. This fact is especially true if care is accessed early in their illness. Our patients are seen by trained healthcare professionals who can address their medical conditions and support family members. Additionally, hospice care can include complementary therapy such as pet visits.
Myth #4: Hospice care is expensive.
Hospice care is actually less expensive than care provided in a traditional medical setting. Additionally, Medicare, Medicaid and most other insurances cover the cost of hospice care. As a community-based, not-for-profit organization, Chapters Health System and its affiliates never turn away an individual who might need hospice care due to an inability to pay.
Myth #5: Hospice is for patients who do not need a high level of care.
End-of-life care is extremely complex. The interdisciplinary team at each affiliate—Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice—is composed of specially trained physicians, pharmacists, nurses and therapists who can provide comprehensive medical care. Their efforts are complemented by a team of other trained professionals and volunteers who offer a full range of support services, which help the entire family.
Myth #6: Hospice patients require a “Do Not Resuscitate” status prior to admission.
At Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice, we acknowledge and respect the end-of-life choices that our patients and families make. Therefore, we do NOT require “Do Not Resuscitate” status for admission.
Myth #7: Hospice requires family members to provide care to patients.
In many instances, Chapters Health staff trains family members to assist in the care of their loved ones. Family members can call our nursing help hotline—HospiceHelp24®—24/7/365 for assistance. In cases where the patient lives alone or family members are unable to assist with care, the Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice or LifePath Hospice team can help. And lastly, care is possible at any one of our hospice houses if appropriate.
Myth #8: Hospice means “nothing more can be done.”
When a cure is no longer an option, there is still a great deal that can be done to control symptoms, and provide care, comfort and support. The hospice interdisciplinary team includes nurses, physicians, hospice aides, social workers, chaplains, bereavement counselors and trained volunteers. Team members visit patients and families wherever they call home and are available 24/7 for support and care.
Myth #9: Hospice is just for the patient.
Hospice focuses on providing comfort, dignity and emotional support to the patient and their loved ones. Quality of life for all concerned is our highest priority. We are with you and beside you every step of the way.
Myth #10: Once you go to hospice, you can’t change your mind or seek a cure.
Hospice patients always have the right to return to medical care that focuses on curing their disease at any time and for any reason. If a condition improves or the disease goes into remission, a patient can be discharged from hospice and go back to aggressive, curative measures. This is all based on patient choice. If a discharged patient wants to return to hospice care at a later date, Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies will allow readmission.
The shared hospice myths examples are just a few of the many misconceptions regarding hospice care. Our interdisciplinary team is well-versed in openly discussing end-of-life wishes and can assist in developing plans to meet patients’ needs and desires.
At Chapters Health System, every day is devoted to educating our patients and keeping them in the place they call home. We are dedicated to ensuring that patients, young and old alike, and their families are able to make educated decisions about important healthcare matters. For more information, please call our helpful Chapters Health team at 1.866.204.8611 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Phoebe Ochman
Phoebe Ochman, Director of Corporate Communications for Chapters Health System, manages all content and communications for the not-for-profit organization.
Busting Five Top Myths
Myths and urban legends seem to arise when enough people share the misinformation that it is viewed as gospel. Check out these myths, and discover the truth.
Myth #1: Chewing gum will stay in your stomach for 7 years.
How many times growing up did you ever swallow gum? You probably thought to yourself, “Now I’ve gone and done it, and the gum will be in my stomach for the next 7 years!” Well, you worried needlessly. Like anything else you eat, your stomach is capable of moving gum along your digestive tract so it eventually leaves the body like food. There are rare cases when gum can block the digestive tract. This occurs when other items, like coins, are swallowed along with the gum.
Myth #2: Vikings hats had horns.
Close your eyes and imagine a Viking. If you added horns to the helmet on top of his head, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Archaeologists have discovered only simple iron or leather helmets, and some with wings, dating back to Viking times. So how did this myth come about? In the 1800s, Swedish artist Gustav Malmström depicted Vikings wearing horned helmets in his work. Later in the 19th century, Carl Emil Doepler designed costumes for Richard Wagner’s opera Der Ring des Nibelungen, whereby the raiders were portrayed wearing headgear with horns on top.
Myth #3: Bananas grow on trees.
Even though the song “Yellow Bird” has the lyrical line, “Yellow bird, up high in the banana tree,” bananas do not grow on trees. The stem does not possess any wood-type tissue. In fact, bananas more accurately grow as a perennial herb plant, and the resulting fruit is really a berry.
Myth #4: Bats are blind.
We have all heard the saying “blind as a bat,” but there is actually no truth backing the statement. Truth be told, bats don’t see in color but have excellent night vision. In fact, according to Rob Mies, executive director and co-founder of the Organization for Bat Conservation, large bats can see three times more accurately than humans. Additionally, bats have a heightened sense of hearing with a natural ability to echolocate, or use sound waves to determine where objects are located.
Myth #5: Napoleon was short.
We have often heard people described as having a Napoleon complex and believed that it was due to the fact that the military general overcompensated with his ambitious drive because of his short height. Actually in truth, Napoleon was the height of an average Frenchman at the time, clocking in at 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches, depending on the source. How did this myth come about? At the beginning of his career in the military, Napoleon was given the nickname of Le Petit Corporal (The Little Corporal), which was used by his fellow soldiers to make fun of his low rank.