One of the oldest enduring myths about hospice care is that the hospice benefit is only available to patients with cancer. This could not be further from the truth. To put it simply, hospice is a Medicare benefit available to anyone who is terminally ill with a prognosis of 6 months or less if the disease follows a normal course.
When launched in the early 1970’s, American hospice programs served mostly cancer patients, but any terminal disease or condition will qualify a patient for hospice. In fact, more than half of all hospice patients in the country have a disease other than cancer. This includes: HIV/AIDS, emphysema, Alzheimer’s, cardiac and respiratory diseases, neurological illnesses, and many more.
However, many physicians and many patients believe that hospice serves only cancer patients. Sadly, myths like these keep patients from getting the treatment they need when they require end of life care. In Oklahoma, more than half of eligible patients do not receive hospice care, and those who do generally enter into care much later than they could.
If you have a loved one who is nearing the end of life, please do not hesitate to call us. One of our trained and compassionate staff members will quickly help you determine if your loved one is eligible for hospice care. It costs nothing to you and can drastically improve your loved one’s quality of life.