One of the common misconceptions for hospice is that people wait to go on hospice until they are “actively dying.” This is wrong!
Hospice is not designed and really is unable to provide the full service when the patient is actively dying. In the actively dying phase, hospice has already supported the patient and family with resources and care training. In an ideal scenario, families and loved ones are able to have extra support from their care teams, and the care teams can set-up what the patient has deemed is their ideal death, usually meant for the family members that are present. When hospice is thrown into an “actively dying” situation, the nurse is often administering medications, and that might be all. There is minimal support, because the rest of the team has not been involved to provide those services.
In a fast hospice situation, patients and families do not have a chance to prepare for death itself, the after-death choices, options, and expenses. There is often confusion about who is responsible for what, because there is no time for preparation. Medicare (and Medicaid) have intentionally created a program to support people during the last 6 months of life. This 6-month program is to allow for preparation, planning, education, and support. Often times, your chaplain and your social workers are critical team members that help families make decisions and plans, so the patient is able to have an ideal death.
Death is not like what you see on television, and giving someone a “good death,” involves preparation, planning and training. This is where your hospice team is crucial. Too often, patients are referred to hospice, and they do not get the benefit that they have paid for their whole lives.
Hospice is not designed for the imminent patient.
Hospice is designed as the last service the medical community provides for its patients.
Not what you thought?
Most people are uncomfortable with death and push it off. Unfortunately, pushing off hospice often results in a less than ideal death experience for the patient and their family. It can feel awkward and troublesome to talk about death and the dying process. Hospice professionals understand this, and they are trained and intentional in supporting your individual learning journey.
For more information, you can email our team at info@EliteHHH.com
I also recommend doing your own research on the hospice process. A great resource is Hospice Nurse Julie at www.youtube.com/@hospicenursejulie