Hospice is a word that some people are afraid of.
For some, it conjures the image of a patient who has “given up” on medical treatment. Others may worry that they won’t get the medical care they need once in hospice.
However, hospice care doesn’t mean all medical treatment stops. It just means you and your family have decided to focus on what makes your life more comfortable, rather than continue to seek treatment for a disease that has no cure. Hospice care is 100% covered by Medicare, and 15% of hospice patients survive more than 6 months and actually get better for a time.
Over the years, I’ve had many patients in hospice care, and almost every one of them – and their families – told me they wished they had started it sooner. Hospice helps patients and families prepare for death in a dignified way that focuses on the quality and comfort of life that remains.
Rather than being a “last resort”, I think hospice offers patients and families the chance to be at home, together during this important time in life’s journey.
This is Dr. Susan Nelson for Church Health.