Far too many people wait until they are in the midst of a health care crisis before thinking about what options are available and what care they or their loved ones would have wanted. Hospice professionals deal with these challenging situations every day – that’s what they are trained to do.
When a family is coping with a terminal illness, hospice provides comfort and dignity, making sure every day is as good a day as possible. Hospice care includes expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support. Care is provided by an inter-disciplinary team of professionals, including trained volunteers, focused on making the wishes of the patient and family the center of care.
At Cedar Valley Hospice, we often hear, “we wish we would have called sooner.” This is because many people are scared of hospice and are faced with many misconceptions about it.
“We waited too late, we thought it was something that Dad would overcome. I wish we would have contacted Cedar Valley Hospice sooner because it would have taken the pressure off of us as kids. I’m glad we did make the call because it helped things go more smoothly at the end.” Tim Moses, Son
Here are five common myths of hospice:
MYTH: Hospice is a place.
FACT: Hospice services are provided in a patient’s own home, a nursing home, long-term care facility or hospital. Cedar Valley Hospice also offers a hospice home available for short-term stays to manage a pain crisis, provide respite or residential.
MYTH: Only a physician decides it is time for hospice.
FACT: Anyone can make a referral – family member, clergy, physician, hospital, nursing home.
MYTH: Hospice means not returning to medical treatment.
FACT: Hospice nurses and physicians are experts in the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom management. Once on a hospice program you are being cared for physically, socially and emotionally. Many times this quality care improves a patient’s health to a point that they no longer qualify for hospice, resulting in a graduation from the hospice program. At this time patients may choose to seek curative treatment again.
MYTH: Hospice is only for the last few days of life.
FACT: Hospice is for patients with a prognosis of six months or less. Research shows that those on a hospice program, live longer compared to someone with the same diagnosis and prognosis of someone who is not.
MYTH: All hospices are the same.
FACT: There are certain services hospices are required to provide for Medicare certification. Cedar Valley Hospice offers what is required and a variety of additional services to meet the needs of patients and families. These services include: grief services for families and children, a LINK palliative care program for people with a serious illness but do not yet qualify for hospice and CASS (Cedar AIDS Support System) case management for people with HIV and AIDS. There are also for-profit hospices and not-for-profit. Cedar Valley Hospice is a not-for-profit organization.
When hospice is involved at the end of life, there are many benefits to the patient, their family and friends. The sooner the call is made, the sooner our staff can begin building relationships come in and start a plan of care. This helps improve quality of life for the patient and helps ease many concerns from family members. Calling Cedar Valley Hospice allows family members to be the husband, the daughter, the sister or brother again, rather than only a caregiver. One of the best ways to make sure you and your loved ones benefit fully from hospice, is to talk about it and educate yourself before it becomes an issue before you would ever need this type of care.
Along with providing hospice services, Cedar Valley Hospice provides many different resources to the community. Our speakers bureau program provides presentations at no cost to any groups in the community and there are several topics including general hospice, grief, death and much more. Cedar Valley Hospice grief support services are offered to anyone in the community grieving the death of a loved one. There are also several different grief support groups taking place in our service area communities. We also offer workplace resources and tips for supporting employees going through a difficult time through the Caring Connections program. To learn more about Cedar Valley Hospice and the resources available to the community, call 319.272.2002 or visit www.cvhospice.org.