12 Facts You Should Know About Hospice and Palliative Care, but Were Afraid To Ask



​To make the healthcare choices that are best for you and your family, you have to have all the facts. There are many incorrect assumptions made about medical care for the seriously ill.  We hope this information will help you make the best decisions for you.

MYTH: “Hospice is only for the last days of life.”
FACT: Once it is determined that life expectancy is not years but months, any individual may seek hospice care. By seeking care early in the progression of an illness, patients and their loved ones can benefit from the full scope of services available.

MYTH: ”The only outcome is hastened death.”
FACT: Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death. However, some patients improve with the supportive care of hospice—so much so that hospice care is no longer suitable. When that is the case, we continue to assist our patients through the Western Reserve Navigator palliative care service and At Home Support, staying involved in their care and wellness plans. Later, patients can be re-admitted to hospice, if necessary.

MYTH: ”I can’t keep my own doctor.”
FACT: Yes, you can. Your doctor will work hand-in-hand with our specialists in a collaborative team. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, we can help you find one.

MYTH: ”All hospices are the same.”
FACT: Medicare regulates the basic, core services of hospice care. However, there are key differences in the quality of care that hospices provide and the services they offer. Ask about patient/staff ratio, inpatient options, therapies and programs that are not mandated but are beneficial to the patient and family’s well-being.

MYTH: Hospice care is limited to six months.
FACT: Patients may receive hospice care as long as their condition remains serious. The hospice team is responsible for  continually assessing the care needed.

MYTH: ”I can’t receive curative treatments or life-sustaining care while in hospice care.”
FACT: Treatments may help you manage symptoms and pain and improve your ability to live comfortably. There may also be treatments unrelated to your hospice diagnosis that may be continued. Your doctor can discuss options with you.

MYTH: ”Palliative care is different than hospice care.”
FACT: Hospice care is also palliative care. It addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of both patient and family. Western Reserve Navigator Palliative Care Program assists those  individuals whose disease is serious but who are not hospice ready, or do not choose it. Seeking hospice care is always a choice.

MYTH: ”Only a doctor can make a referral to hospice.”
FACT: Anyone—friend, loved one, clergy, clinical care worker-can call Hospice of the Western Reserve to help you get started. You can call yourself. The choice to begin care is always up to the patient and family.

MYTH: ”Hospice is expensive.”
FACT: Hospice care, including medications and home visits, is paid by Medicare and Medicaid and is covered by most commercial insurers.

We Can Help

Speak with the referral team by contacting us seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Any first visit and admission can be made the first day.

Northern Ohio's Hospice of Choice

More than 1,000 Hospice of the Western Reserve employees and 3,000 volunteers live and work side-by-side in the same neighborhoods with our patients and families. We are privileged to have cared for more than 100,000 Northern Ohioans since our inception.