Hospice Facts & Myths

Amy Wright, Marketing Director

March 1, 2021

Myth: If you start talking about hospice, it means you are giving up.

Fact: Hospice is a higher level of care for advanced symptom management, with a larger care team and more resources for a patient and family. Electing hospice does man a patient has opted to forgo curative treatments and aggressive therapies, but usually they’ve done so in favor of spending their days on their terms, in their own homes, with the people they love.

Myth: It’s too early for hospice if a patient feels good or is not in pain.

Fact: The feedback we hear most frequently from families is, “I wish we had done hospice sooner.” Hospice does not prolong life nor hasten death, but the sooner a hospice plan of care is in place to manage symptoms, the better quality of life a patient has, for longer.

Myth: A patient cannot receive any therapies or treatments while receiving hospice care.

Fact: Patients can receive physical therapy while on hospice. The duration is shorter and the focus is on comfort and safety, rather than rehabilitation. Patients can certainly receive treatments on hospice; hospice is about adding care, not taking it away. A patient electing hospice is only making a decision to forgo curative treatments relating to their hospice diagnosis. For example, if a patient is admitted for terminal pancreatic cancer, they are opting to forgo chemo and immunotherapy related to their cancer. They are not necessarily saying they want to stop taking their blood pressure or other medications.

Myth: Hospice is expensive.

Fact: Medicare Part A covers hospice care at 100% under the Hospice Medicare Benefit. Electing hospice does not exclude a patient from receiving Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage plans and commercial policy coverage varies and is subject to in/out of network provider contract status. JOL Healthcare verifies all benefits and advises of coverage before initiation of any service.

Myth: Once you start hospice, you’re “stuck” with it, and the only outcome is death.

Fact: A patient may “revoke or cancel their hospice services at any time, for any reason. A patient may come off of services if they decide they want to take part in a new, clinical trial for their diagnosis, for example. A patient may remain on services for as long as there is a documented clinical decline. However, if symptoms are managed, and a patient’s condition stabilizes to the point that they are no longer declining, it is not uncommon for a patient to “graduate” and come off of services. (At that point, we may recommend home health care or something with slightly lower acuity.)

Myth: A DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Order) is required for hospice.

Fact: A DNR or Advance Directive is not required for hospice admission. A DNR is a requirement for some of our local hospitals to arrange medical transport from the hospital to home. 

Myth: Hospice is a place you go to die.

Fact: Hospice care is meant to be provided at home. It’s a service that’s intended to keep a patient out of the hospital/rehab and at home where they are most comfortable. 98% of hospice care can be provided at home, wherever a patient calls home.