Tag Archives: congestive heart failure

Why Hospice?

442372023_a30943a067

  1. Because your loved one, even if he or she is bedridden, would prefer to be at home instead of in a hospital.
  2. Because the top priority of hospice care is patient comfort including relief from pain.
  3. Because going on hospice does not mean giving up.
  4. Because hospice focuses on the quality of a patient’s remaining time, instead of continuing treatments to prolong life.
  5. Because hospice team members guide family members and/or private care personnel on proper caregiving for each individual patient.
  6. Because hospice patients, on average, live longer than those who are not on hospice. This result has been repeated by numerous studies.
  7. Because hospice care includes necessary medical equipment such as oxygen, hospital beds, wheelchairs, etc.
  8. Because spiritual and emotion support is available to the patient and family members.
  9. Because hospice is fully covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans.
  10. Because hospice is not just for the last few days of a person’s life.
  11. Because hospice is not just for cancer patients. While hospice provides care for many cancer patients, people with other life-limiting conditions such as Alzheimer’s, renal failure, congestive heart failure may also be eligible for hospice.
  12. Because hospice care is delivered with compassion.

For information about hospice care in metro St. Louis, please call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.

(photo credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/44124395312@N01/442372023, via http://photopin.com,  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Will I Die Sooner on Hospice?

In a word, the answer is “no.” Hospice care neither speeds up nor slows down the dying process. It might appear that, after aggressive hospital treatments are stopped, terminal illnesses would progress at a more rapid pace.

Various research projects have shown that patients on hospice care in many cases actually live longer than those with similar conditions receiving treatments such as chemotherapy. Factors other than purely medical ones—such as the comfort of sitting at home in one’s favorite chair—may play a role in those results.

The Boston doctor who wrote an excellent article about hospice care in The New Yorker magazine in 2010 cited an actual study of 4,493 Medicare patients on hospice. The research compared average survival times of patients on hospice versus those not on hospice care.

That research revealed that patients with pancreatic cancer live, on average, three weeks longer on hospice care. Those with lung cancer had six weeks more survival time on hospice care. Persons with congestive heart failure had, on average, three additional months of life on hospice. There was no significant difference for those with breast cancer, prostate cancer or colon cancer.

Click HERE to read the article.

Of course, there is no way to predict how a particular patient’s conditions will progress under hospice care. And every individual is different.

We sometimes read of celebrities going on hospice care and then, just a few days later, dying. This gives the wrong message that hospice care is only for those who are days away from passing. It also implies that being admitted to hospice care means a patient will die in short order.

Along with communicating that hospice care does not speed up the dying process, all hospices, including Hope Hospice, must continue telling the general public and the medical community that hospice care is not just for the very few last days of a person’s life. Most hospices frequently receive comments from family members and other survivors who say, “We wish we had called you sooner.”

Correcting Misconceptions About Hospice

If you Google the search term “misconceptions about hospices,” you’ll get 2,750,000 results. Here are just three of the big misconceptions about hospice care in the U.S.

#1. A hospice is a place. In America, most hospice care occurs in private residences. Most patients prefer to face end-of-life in the comfort of their own homes. Hospice personnel visit the patient in his or her home. Yes, there are some hospices that house patients, but most do not.

#2. Hospice is only for patients with cancer. While many hospice patients do have cancer, hospice care is available for all who have a diagnosis that indicates a life expectancy of six months or less. Hospice patients include those with congestive heart failure, emphysema, dementia and AIDS.

#3. Entering hospice care means that a patient is giving up. Wrong. Hospice care works to make the remaining weeks and months of life comfortable. Hospice care helps manage symptoms such as aches and pains, nausea and problems sleeping. Hospice provides spiritual and social support, which can significantly improve quality of life.

Many studies have shown that patients receiving hospice care, on average, actually live longer (and, presumably more comfortably) than those terminal patients who are not on hospice.

At Hope Hospice of St. Louis, we work everyday to correct misconceptions about hospice. We understand why these misconceptions exist. One main reason is many people do not learn about hospice until it is absolutely necessary. Death is an uncomfortable topic for most of us and, naturally, not something we want to focus on. For those with aging parents, as well as those who are moving into the “golden years” of life, learning about hospice should be a vital concern.

The main problem with these misconceptions is they cause people to avoid or delay taking advantage of all that hospice care has to offer. We at Hope Hospice of St. Louis are always happy to provide information and answer questions about hospice care. We know that we can never completely eliminate all the misconceptions about hospice. We also know that sharing the correct information with one person, one family, one church guild, one civic organization, one medical facility employee group or one entire community can lead patients who need hospice to connect with hospice. Call us or visit us online.

Phone number: 314-984-9800

Web link: Hope Hospice of St. Louis.