Understanding hospice

March 26, 2010 9:11:00 AM



I just want to address some of the misconceptions about hospice care. 


Many people believe that to receive hospice care you must be very close to death, have cancer or HIV. The truth is that you must have a disease that is life threatening and may end your life within six months. This includes people with congestive heart failure, multiple sclerosis, ALS, kidney failure, Alzheimer''s, COPD and general debility (a person who has multiple health problems), just to name a few.  


Once in hospice, people are still able to go to their own doctor and be in the hospital as needed, the hospital does not send people home just because they are in hospice.  


Hospice does not come into the home to help people die; hospice helps people live life to best of their ability by providing palliative care to treat symptoms of their disease, such as pain, shortness of breath or edema. Hospice is for people of all walks of life whether you are financially secure or have no finances at all.  


Life threatening disease can affect anyone and all families need help to care for their loved one and need support for themselves.  


Hospice is different from home health. Hospice provides some things that home health can not such as medications, oxygen for comfort without testing oxygen level of patient, nurse aid care even when there is a full time caregiver or sitter, spiritual support from trained pastors and support to the family after a person dies. Hospice patients are also allowed to leave their home and go anywhere they would like to go, even out of town to visit other family members without losing their hospice care.  


Home health patients are home-bound. Most hospices will provide care regardless of the ability to pay for service. I ask anyone who has questions about hospice care to call the hospice of their choice and get the truth about hospice care. 


Tammy Jenkins, Columbus