Illinois Valley Hospice

10 Myths About Hospice

Hospice is about dying.

In reality, hospice is about living. Through hospice care, patients can live the last days, weeks or months of their lives to the fullest—free of pain and symptoms. Throughout the hospice journey, patients are encouraged to stay as active as possible for as long as possible. They are encouraged to do the things they wish to do and spend time with family and loved ones. Hospice is about living life to the fullest—not worrying about pain and treatments—but focusing on things that matter most and make them happy.

Hospice is a place.

Hospice is not a place, but a concept of care for individuals and their families. Hospice nurses make regular visits to see patients and their families wherever they call home—their own home, a nursing home, or an assisted-living or other long-term care facility. Hospice can take place anywhere the individual calls home.

Hospice is only for cancer patients.

Hospice applies to many diagnoses, not just cancer. Some other common diagnoses for hospice admission include Alzheimer's disease, dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, end-stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Some hospice admissions are for an unspecified debility, when a patient does not have a specific illness but would still benefit from hospice services.

Hospice is only for the patient.

Hospice supports the family as much as the patient. The hospice team works with loved ones to prepare for the passing of a loved one and acts as a support system for families, both during and after the hospice journey. Social workers can assist the family in making difficult decisions and having difficult discussions. Volunteers can sit with patients while families get away for awhile. The hospice spiritual care coordinator can offer spiritual and emotional support to families at any time. Hospice offers bereavement care to families and friends after a loved one has passed.

Hospice is for the last days of life.

One of the most common comments we hear about hospice care is, "I wish we would have known about hospice sooner." Hospice is available for the last weeks and even months of a person's life. We are often asked, "When is the right time for hospice?" The answer is, the sooner the better. By choosing hospice sooner, patients and their families can get to know their primary nurse and the hospice team. Our hospice team can manage pain and symptoms as soon as they begin. Our hospice team can begin to prepare families and their loved one for the road ahead. The greatest benefit to families is that time with their loved one is more pleasant and comfortable because the patient's quality of life is enhanced.

Patients must be bedridden to qualify for hospice.

Patients are encouraged to stay as active as possible, for as long as possible. They should take part in the activities they enjoy, and do something they have always wanted to do. Patients are encouraged to focus on their quality of life and do what makes them happy.

My insurance will not cover hospice services.

Hospice is a benefit covered under Medicare, Illinois Medicaid and most private insurance plans. For those unable to pay for hospice services, Illinois Valley Hospice offers a charity care program. If you have questions about payment or insurance coverage, our billing specialists are available for consultation at 815.224.1307.

Hospice means giving up.

By choosing hospice services, patients elect to live life as comfortably as possible. When a cure is no longer possible, hospice offers expert symptom management. Hospice is not a choice to give up but a choice to make the most out of the last days, weeks and months of life.

Hospice hastens death.

In hospice care, death is allowed to happen naturally. Instead of focusing on curative care, hospice focuses on pain and symptom management. Patients are encouraged to do the things they enjoy, and live life to the fullest. In some cases, patients begin to feel better after starting hospice care because they are free of pain and can spend time doing things they enjoy.

Only my doctor can refer me to hospice.

Hospice referrals come from a number of sources, including physicians, nurses, social workers, case managers, discharge planners, clergy, patients and family members. A hospice nurse will then visit the patient and determine if hospice care is appropriate. While anyone can make a referral, a physician's order is required for hospice admission.

If you have questions about hospice eligibility, please call us at 815.224.1307.