Hospice Myths Part 2

Hospice Myths Part 2

Ryan:
Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode of The Caregiver’s Toolbox, Tools for Everyday Caregiving. In this podcast, we give you tips, information, and education on caregiving and senior care related topics. Today, we’re going to be getting into our second part of a three-part series on the myths of hospice. We’ve gone through the first three hospice myths with our guest, Debbi. She is a hospice liaison and account manager here in Massachusetts. She also has experience working as the director of an occupational therapy in a nursing home. She is very well versed in providing us these hospice myths. Thank you very much, Debbi. Welcome back.
Debbi:
Thank you for having me.

 

Hospice Myths: Hospice if Only for the Dying

Ryan:
Let’s dive right into it. The next myth, or the fourth myth, if we will, out of these nine, is that hospice is only for the person dying. If this is a myth, who is the hospice for?
Debbi:
Hospice is actually for the entire family. When you access your Medicare to pay for any service that you have, it usually covers only the patient. However, in hospice, it covers the entire family. We’re person-centered care, and our goal is to help everybody through that journey, that end of life journey for that patient, not only as the journey is occurring, but afterward. Hospices follow patients for … Every hospice does it a little bit differently, but it’s usually an average of 13 months, to get them through the first of everything, including the anniversary of their loved one’s passing.
Ryan:
Absolutely. Those are important things that everybody should know, that it’s not just for the person that’s going through death, but it’s for the people that are also greatly affected by it as well, their close family members.
Debbi:
Absolutely.

 

Hospice Myth: It Can’t Help People Who Are Alone

Ryan:
The next of the hospice myths is that we’re going to talk about is that hospice is for patients whose family members are involved and around to be providing care. I guess this gets to whether a person needs family support. What if somebody’s alone and doesn’t have children and doesn’t have family close by that are willing to be there by their side? What happens in those situations?
Debbi:
Okay. That person can still receive hospice in their own home, as long as it’s a safe setting. What we focus our care on is making sure that they’re safe, making sure that medications are there. We time our visits, spread them apart. Our home health aide might go in to help with morning care or meals. Whatever the person’s needing that additional help for is where we try to focus our care.

As the disease progresses, there may be … Obviously, every patient is different, but it may be appropriate to provide or obtain some in home private care in those very last days. We try to set things up, meds, treatments, everything so that these patients are able to live in their own home.
Ryan:
All right. Excellent. I guess, while you were talking, I was thinking that if somebody has strained relationships with their children, and maybe they’re not on speaking terms, or whatever has happened. We’ve all met families like that in the private side, and obviously, with the hospice side. You can still provide care for that person and help them through this difficult time.
Debbi:
Exactly. Exactly. Sometimes it’s even just that the family physically or emotionally can’t be at that point to provide the care.
Ryan:
Oh. I see.
Debbi:
It doesn’t mean that the person can’t be home.
Ryan:
They might physically be there, but mentally they’re just not in the game to be able to handle the situation.
Debbi:
Exactly.
Ryan:
I see. That’s absolutely another valid point, that everybody grieves and takes this news differently. Some people look like they’re fine, and they’re crumbling inside. Some people are crumbling on the outside, but they get through it a bit more quickly than others.
Debbi:
Right. It goes back to the fact that hospice is for the whole family, and that’s why. This is uncharted territory. Right? It happens once to each person, so to help them through that journey, however they may need it.

 

Hospice Myths: Only For People Who Have Accepted Thier Fate

Ryan:
The last of the hospice myths that we’re going to be talking about today is: Hospice is for patients that have accepted their fate, accepted their diagnosis and they’re ready to move along in the act of hospice. It gets me thinking that this is more about their mental frame of mind, rather than anything else. There are some people that, probably until their last day, don’t accept what’s going to happen. There might be people that you’ve met, that within 24 hours, they’ve started the journey of making … Accepting this fate.
Debbi:
Yep. That’s exactly correct. It is definitely more of an emotional place versus a physical place. If their prognosis is good, there’s no more treatment. Oftentimes, we see patients that are just in and out of the hospital, or going for test after test, doctor’s appointment after doctor’s appointment. They’re exhausted. They just don’t want to do that part anymore. They don’t want the aggressive treatment or work up, but they’re not necessarily choosing to accept that it’s the end. It’s the job of the hospice team to help them through that journey, help them to be able to find their own way, on their own time scale. Just like anything in life, it’s not predictable. It doesn’t have a course that’s set, that everybody follows a certain path.

Our team of social workers, chaplains, nurses, and a lot of times, even our home health aides are key members of putting different pieces together to be able to help somebody through that to be able to make the most of their journey.
Ryan:
Absolutely.
Debbi:
Sometimes it’s not just the patients. Sometimes it’s the family. Oftentimes, we see patients that know where they’re at in their journey and they’ve accepted it. May not be their choice, but they’ve accepted it. Their loved one, and it’s usually a child, has a really hard time with that. It’s not something that people have to say, “This is what I want,” to choose the service.
Ryan:
Absolutely. I imagine part of that team that you were talking about, of the different jobs that they have, helps people through the stages of grief, and going through that process and making sure that if people are willing to accept the help that your team is there to guide them through that journey.
Debbi:
Exactly, which goes back to the first myth that we talked about today. Hospice is for the entire family and/or loved ones. Sometimes it’s not a blood relative that’s the closest to us.

Wrapping Up Hospice Myths

Ryan:
Absolutely. Excellent. This will wrap up our second part in a three-part series on the hospice myths. Debbi, thank you very much for taking the time and giving us your insight on this, as always.
Debbi:
My pleasure.
Ryan:
Thank you very much to our listeners for listening to this podcast. Our podcasts come out every Tuesday. This is the Caregiver’s Toolbox, Tools for Everyday Caregiving. If you have comments, please reach out to us on Twitter at MWHomeCare. Thank you again. You can hear from us next week.

2017-02-13T16:10:53+00:00February 20th, 2017|Categories: Podcast|