Top 8 Hospice Care Myths & Facts

Hospice care is a set of specialty services designed specifically for individuals with late-stage illnesses and their loved ones, and includes medical, emotional, spiritual and grief support. Despite its many advantages, for both patients and their families, hospice is widely misunderstood. More often than not, hospice is synonymous with death, when in reality, its purpose is to enhance life.

Below are the 8 most common myths about hospice care and the facts:

Myth #1: Hospice care is only for cancer patients.
Fact: Hospice care is for anyone with a late-stage illness, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, heart and lung diseases, renal failure, AIDS, and many other life-limiting diseases.

Myth #2: Hospice care is only for the elderly.
Fact: Hospice is for people of all ages—from infants to the elderly—who have a life expectancy of six months or less if the illness runs its normal course.

Myth #3: Hospice care is only provided in a home.
Fact: Hospice is provided in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities—anywhere an individual calls “home.”

Myth #4: Hospice care is expensive.
Fact: Hospice services—including medication and equipment related to the terminal diagnosis—are completely covered under the Medicare/Medicaid Hospice Benefit. Most private insurance carriers also offer a hospice benefit. Medications not related to the terminal diagnosis are the patient’s responsibility. Deductibles, co-pays and spend-downs are also the patient’s responsibility. Care and services from Hospice of the Red River Valley are provided to everyone who needs them, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay.

Myth #5: Hospice is for the last days of life.
Fact: Patients and families benefit most when hospice services are begun as soon as an individual learns of his or her terminal diagnosis. Hospice care, at any stage, but particularly early on, can significantly lighten the burden.

Myth #6: Hospice workers are all volunteers.
Fact: While trained volunteers may provide assistance to patients and families, the actual care is provided by highly specialized professional staff, including registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, social workers, chaplains and grief specialists.

Myth #7: Hospice is for people who have “no hope.”
Fact: Choosing hospice does not mean death is imminent. Hospice care neither hastens death nor prolongs life. With Hospice, the miracle isn’t the cure, it is in the caring. The Hospice team members are pain and symptom management experts. They provide support and pain relief so families can share quality time and meaningful, dignified, peaceful end-of-life experiences.

Myth #8: You can’t contact Hospice until your physician suggests hospice care.
Fact: Anyone may call at any time to learn about Hospice’s services at no obligation. A physician’s order is ultimately required for admission to the Hospice program.

To learn more about Hospice, visit our website or contact us at (800) 237-4629 or

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
In 1981, Hospice of the Red River Valley was founded on the belief that everyone deserves access to high-quality end-of-life care. We fulfill our nonprofit mission by providing medical, emotional, personal and spiritual care, as well as grief support to our patients, their families and caregivers during a tender time in life. Our staff helps those we serve experience more meaningful moments through exceptional hospice care, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, wherever a patient calls home. The organization serves more than 40,000 square miles in North Dakota and Minnesota, including in and around Bismarck, Detroit Lakes, Devils Lake, Fargo, Fergus Falls, Grand Forks, Lisbon, Thief River Falls, Valley City and many more communities. Hospice of the Red River Valley offers round-the-clock availability via phone, prompt response times and same-day admissions, including evenings, weekends and holidays. Contact us anytime at 800-237-4629 or


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