Saturday, 18 September 2021

Busting myths about Hospice care

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Hospice is not a place. Hospice is a program of care that provides pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care to patients, their families, loved ones and caregivers when a cure is no longer considered an option and comfort becomes the priority.

“Every year, nearly 350 people Lake County residents with a life-limiting illness receive care from the Hospice Services of Lake County team,” said Executive Director Cindy Sobel. “These highly-trained professionals ensure that patients and families find dignity, respect, and compassion during life’s most difficult journey.”

Caregivers of our patients frequently tell our staff that they never realized all the help and support hospice provides.

“They are amazed and very, very grateful that our staff was there to help them through possibly the most difficult time in their lives,” said nurse case manager Mick Brockman. “And, we often hear from patients and families that they would have known about hospice sooner and been able to experience hospice care for a longer period of time.”

Here is a short list of some of the most common “myths” people have about hospice care and the facts about each one.

Myth: Is it too early for hospice if the patient feels good or doesn’t have pain?

Fact: Not necessarily. The patient’s prognosis, along with the desire for comfort and support should justify a hospice referral. Receiving hospice care early helps the patient live a better quality of life than waiting until the patient is suffering and in pain.

Myth: Individuals must be referred by a physician to receive hospice care.

Fact: Patients and family members are encouraged to refer themselves to Hospice Services at any time. Sooner is better. We will help you determine if the time is right and consult with your primary care provider. We are available for telephone or in-person consultations to help assess patient needs and describe how comfort care is provided.

Myth: A patient must die within six months or they are not eligible for hospice.

Fact: This is not true. Eligibility requirements state that a doctor must certify that the patient has six months or less to live if the disease runs its normal course. Many patients outlive the six-month timeline and continue to receive hospice care. National statistics show that on average, hospice patients live about 20 percent longer than patients who are not receiving Hospice care.

Myth: The patient and family must be ready for hospice or ready to accept the patient’s impending death.

Fact: Denial is an accepted coping mechanism. However, it is important that the patient and family be aware that the purpose of hospice is not to cure, but to care.

Myth: Hospice is expensive.

Fact: Hospice is free, paid for by Medicare and major insurance companies. We do not deny care to anyone because of inability to pay.

Myth: Hospice is only for the sick family member.

Fact: Hospice supports family members with their emotional needs and helps educate caregivers on how to best care for the loved one at home. Hospice also offers free bereavement services for up to 13 months after the death of a loved one.

Myth: Is hospice only for cancer patients?

Fact: No. Hospice care is available for all terminally ill people no matter what the disease. Some of the most common non-cancer diseases are congestive heart failure, dementia and chronic lung disease.

Hospice is essentially a philosophy of care that accepts death as the final stage of life; just as birth is the beginning. The goal of Hospice Services is to enable patients to spend their last days with dignity and enjoy a quality of life surrounded by their loved ones.

For more information about the care that Hospice Services of Lake County provides and to answer any questions, please visit our website at www.lakecountyhospice.org or call 707-263-6222.

Janine Smith-Citron is development director for Hospice Services of Lake County.

Upcoming Calendar

18Sep
09.18.2021 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
California Coastal Cleanup
18Sep
09.18.2021 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Westside Community Horse Park planning meeting
18Sep
09.18.2021 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Clear Lake State Park Visitor Center tour
18Sep
09.18.2021 8:00 pm - 8:45 pm
‘Hunters of the Skies’
19Sep
09.19.2021 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Big Valley Small Farms Tour
20Sep
09.20.2021 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Lake County 29'ers Cribbage Club Meeting
21Sep
09.21.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
22Sep
09.22.2021 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Lake and Mendocino Stand Down and Resource Fair
23Sep
09.23.2021 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Savings Bank drive-up shred event
23Sep
09.23.2021 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Westside Community Horse Park planning meeting

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