Among the biggest misconceptions about hospice care is the belief that hospice is only for the final few days of a person’s life. At Hope Hospice, we continually work to inform the community that a patient and the patient’s family can get much more from hospice care if the call is made to hospice before those last few days.
It’s easy to understand why some people think about hospice this way. We frequently see or hear news about a famous person who is receiving hospice care. In many cases, we then read just a day or two after that first mention of hospice that the person has died. This tends to reinforce the idea that hospice is only for those who are just days away from death.
A person is eligible for hospice care when it has been determined that he or she has a life expectancy of six months or less. If a patient lives beyond the initial six months enrollment period, he or she can be recertified for another six months of hospice care. With many terminal conditions, estimating the amount of time a patient has remaining is often imprecise.
To receive the full benefit of all the services Hope Hospice and other hospice agencies have to offer, contact should be made as soon as possible when a diagnosis indicates a need for hospice care. This allows the hospice team to tend to a patient’s emotional, spiritual and social needs, as well as provide the services our nurses and home health aides provide.
At Hope Hospice we often are told by surviving family members, “We wish we had called you sooner.” While hospice care is always available help manage pain during a patient’s final days, that’s certainly not the only thing that hospice care is good for.
To learn more about hospice care in metro St. Louis, call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.
(photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sparkleglowplug/118142600/, sparkle glowplug via http://photopin.com, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/)