Misperception of Hospice Care
Hospice care has been around for many years, with some historians dating some of the first services being performed in 1065 in Malta.(1) However, it seems that regardless of hospice’s longevity, it is not a service that is fully understood by the general population. At Bridges Health Services, we aim to provide comfort and support to our hospice patients and their families through care based on compassion and dignity.
By definition, hospice care aims to address the physical, psychological, and spiritual needs of patients living with terminal illness in their last 6 months of life. Unfortunately, less than 50% of all patients who pass away receive hospice care. Promoting access to hospice care is crucial to ensure quality of life and dignity to those with severe, chronic illnesses. Researchers at Weill Cornell University’s department of medicine found that most adults cannot detail what hospice services are, which, “(implies) a low level of awareness of these services” and subsequently leads to misinformation.(2) A 2015 article in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that hospice care has been associated with improved patient symptom control and quality of life as well as increased satisfaction with care.(3)
In an article published by the National Institute of Health from the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care, 800 adults were given a 3 question survey in which they were asked to define hospice care.2 17% of participants were entirely unaware of what hospice care was. Only 13.4% knew hospice was a type of comfort care while only 5.3% recognized that hospice care provides care to both patients and families. Most strikingly, only 3.3% recognized that hospice care provides symptom management to patients.
At Bridges Health Services, our hospice team develops a plan to coordinate regular nursing visits, provide assistance with personal care, as well as emotional, social and spiritual support.
Prescriptions related to pain and comfort are delivered to the home along with durable medical equipment and supplies such as a hospital bed, nebulizers, walkers, and more. It’s important to know that hospice is not a place, it’s a philosophy of care. Given a choice, most people would prefer to be at home than a hospital. Almost all of hospice care is delivered at home. For different patients, their home may be their private residence or that of a loved one, an assisted living or skilled nursing facility.
Hospice is a complex topic, so we encourage you to contact our main line to schedule a meeting with one of our hospice representatives in order to answer your additional questions about hospice care. The fact that you’re exploring hospice is a very positive sign. It means you’re considering what’s best for a loved one and your family. The philosophy of hospice is to provide support and care so that people with a life limiting illness may live as fully and comfortably as possible.
At Bridges Health Services, we do all we can to make sure that no one in our care ends the journey of life alone, afraid, or in pain.
2 Ariel Shalev, BBA et al., Awareness and Misperceptions of Hospice and Palliative Care: A Population-Based Survey Study Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2018 March ; 35(3): 431–439. doi:10.1177/1049909117715215.
3 Wendy M. Baer BA, Laura C. Hanson MD, MPH Families’ Perception of the Added Value of Hospice in the Nursing Home (27 April 2015) https://agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2000.tb06883.x?sid=nlm%3Apubmed