Frequently Asked Questions About Hospice
Is hospice only for people with cancer?
No. Blue Ridge Hospice cares for all patients with a terminal illness including heart disease, COPD, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, liver disease, etc.
If I choose hospice will I die sooner?
No. Patients will live as long as their illness will allow. Hospice care will ensure you’re comfortable, your pain is controlled, and your quality of life is as good as it can be. Studies show that some hospice patients sometimes live longer than expected.
Does choosing hospice mean giving up?
No. Choosing hospice may mean you’re no longer seeking curative measures but the hospice approach will help you make choices, achieve your goals of care, and work towards more comfort and quality for the remainder of your life.
Is hospice care covered by insurance?
Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances cover hospice services. Read more info about Medicare Hospice benefits here. For patients without insurance or other programs to help with costs (and qualify based on their resources), Blue Ridge Hospice offers the Patient Care Fund, a charity care program so everyone can benefit from hospice care.
Will I still see my primary doctor if I choose hospice care?
Our board-certified hospice physicians and interdisciplinary team members will work with your primary physician to reach your and your family’s goals for your care. You can continue to keep your primary care appointments, but the Blue Ridge Hospice physicians also make home visits.
Can I receive hospice care at a nursing home?
The Blue Ridge Hospice interdisciplinary team will care for you where you live whether it’s at your home, a family’s residence, a nursing home, or assisted living facility.
Common Myths About Hospice
Myth: Hospice is a place you go when there is nothing more a doctor can do.
Fact: Hospice is not a place, but a philosophy of care providing medical, emotional and spiritual care focusing on comfort and quality of life.
Myth: Hospice is only for people with cancer.
Fact: More than half of hospice patients nationwide have diagnoses other than cancer. Patients with chronic illnesses like emphysema, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular and neuromuscular diseases, ALS, HIV/AIDS, and other life-limiting diseases are also cared for.
Myth: Hospice is only for the last days of life.
Fact: Patients and their families can receive hospice care for six months or longer, depending on the course of the illness. Hospice care is most beneficial when there is sufficient time to manage symptoms and establish a trusting relationship with both the patient and the family.
Myth: Choosing hospice means giving up hope.
Fact: Hospice provides comfort and gives the patient the ability to live life as fully as possible when a cure is no longer possible. The gift of hospice is its capacity to help families see how much can be shared at the end of life through personal and spiritual connections often left behind. Most look back upon their hospice experiences with gratitude and the knowledge that everything possible was done towards a peaceful death for their loved one.
Myth: Hospice care is very expensive.
Fact: Many people who use hospice are over 65 and can take advantage of The Medicare Hospice Benefit. This covers most hospice services and requires very little, if any, out of pocket expense. Most insurance providers also cover hospice care. Those without the ability to pay will not be turned away but their care underwritten by community donations – the Blue Ridge Hospice Patient Care Fund.
Myth: You can’t keep your own doctor if you enter hospice.
Fact: Hospice physicians work closely with the patient’s doctor to determine an individualized plan of care.
Myth: Choosing hospice means giving up all medical treatment.
Fact: Hospice places the individual and family at the center of the care-planning process and provides high-quality pain management and symptom control to provide the most fulfilling life for those months and days that remain.
Myth: Hospice only cares for patients in their homes.
Fact: Most people choose to die at home surrounded by their loved ones. Blue Ridge Hospice cares for individuals wherever they call home, including skilled care, assisted living facilities, and group homes.
Myth: Hospice is just for the elderly.
Fact: Hospice serves anyone facing a life-limiting illness, regardless of age, including infants and children. Blue Ridge Hospice offers clinical staff members trained in pediatric hospice care.
Myth: Families are not able to care for people with life-limiting illnesses.
Fact: Hospice involves families and offers professional support and training to help them care for their loved ones.
Myth: Hospice care starts when someone is close to dying and ends at death.
Fact: The focus of hospice care starts at the acute phase of the terminal illness and extends beyond the patient’s death to include bereavement care and grief support for the family. Blue Ridge Hospice offers grief counseling to the community at-large serving churches, schools, and the workplace.