is often misunderstood and shrouded in myths that can prevent individuals and families from accessing the compassionate support they need during a challenging time. This article will address common misconceptions about and provide you with the facts. We aim to empower you with accurate information to make informed decisions when considering hospice for yourself or a loved one.

Myth: Electing Hospice Means Giving Up on Living

Fact: Hospice focuses on caring for patients and their families, emphasizing positive outcomes. Hospice is not about giving up on life; it's about improving the quality of life during the end-of-life journey. Patients still receive care and support to make their remaining time as comfortable and meaningful as possible.

Myth: Hospice Means Giving Up Hope

Fact: Receiving hospice care does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent. Instead, it means shifting the focus from aggressive treatments with limited benefits to a more holistic approach that includes , emotional support, and enhancing the patient's overall well-being.

Myth: The Patient Must Leave Their Home

Fact: Hospice care can be provided in various settings, including the patient's home. It's not necessary to move to a hospital or hospice facility. The goal is to enable patients to remain in their familiar and comfortable environment while receiving specialized care.

Myth: Hospice is Where People Go to Die

Fact: Hospice is not where people go to die, but rather a care that can be provided wherever the patient calls home. This could be a private residence, assisted living community, nursing home, or hospital.

Myth: Hospice Is a Place

Fact: Hospice care is not limited to a specific location or facility. It's a comprehensive approach that can be provided wherever the patient feels most comfortable, whether at home, in a nursing facility, or in a dedicated hospice facility.

Myth: Hospice Is for People Very Close to Death

Fact: Hospice care is for individuals of all ages facing a life-threatening illness, and it can be provided for weeks or even months before the end of life.

Myth: Hospice Will Hasten Death

Fact: Hospice care focuses on providing comfort and improving the quality of life for patients in their final stages. It does not aim to prolong or hasten death. Hospice professionals work to manage symptoms and compassionately enhance the patient's well-being.

Myth: Once You Enter Hospice Care, You Can Never Go Back

Fact: Patients can leave hospice care at any time for any reason, and they can return to hospice care if their condition changes.

Myth: Hospice Is Only for Cancer Patients

Fact: Hospice serves people dealing with any life-limiting illness and is not limited to those with a cancer . It provides comprehensive care for individuals facing various terminal conditions, such as heart disease, dementia, or respiratory illnesses.

Myth: All Hospice Providers Are the Same

Fact: Different hospice providers may offer varying levels of care and support. Researching and choosing a reputable hospice provider that aligns with your needs and values is essential. Hospice teams should consist of skilled professionals dedicated to compassionate end-of-life care.

Myth: Hospice Provides Blocks of Time

Fact: Hospice care is not provided in blocks of time but as needed. Hospice care can be provided for weeks or even months before the end of life.

Myth: Hospice Is Present 24 Hours Per Day

Fact: Hospice care is not provided 24 hours per day but rather on an as-needed basis. Hospice care providers are available by phone 24 hours per day and can provide in-person care as needed. Most patients receive scheduled visits one to several times per week and often daily in their last days.

Myth: Hospice Is Just for the Patient

Fact: Hospice care extends its support to the entire family, recognizing that the journey of terminal illness affects everyone involved. Hospice teams provide emotional, psychological, and spiritual support to patients and their families.

Myth: The Doctor Will Let You Know When to Go on Hospice

Fact: While doctors can recommend hospice care, the decision ultimately lies with the patient and their family. It's crucial to have open and honest discussions with healthcare providers about the best time to consider hospice, especially when curative treatments are no longer effective. Please also remember that doctors are human beings like you and I, and they can have their own biases for or against hospice. They may not be trained to know how close someone is to dying to know when to advise you that your loved one has six months or less to live.

Myth: Hospice Care Is Costly

Fact: Hospice care is typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurance plans. Patients and their families should not be burdened by high costs when seeking . Financial counselors within hospice teams can help navigate the financial aspects of care.


Hospice care is a type of medical care that focuses on the comfort and dignity of individuals near the end of their lives. Despite its many benefits, there are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding it. We hope to help individuals and their families make informed decisions about hospice care by dispelling these myths and providing the facts.


Debunking Myths About Hospice Care with Barbara Karnes RN | EOLU Podcast (Video)

Thirty-four Myths and Facts about Hospice

Hospice Foundation of America Dispelling Hospice Myths

National Institute on Aging Four Myths About Palliative and Hospice Care

The Stigma of Hospice

Top 30 FAQs About Hospice: Everything You Need to Know

Understanding Hospice Care: Is it Too Early to Start Hospice?

What's the process of getting your loved one on hospice service?

Picking a hospice agency to provide hospice services

Medicare — Find and compare hospice providers

Eldercare Locator: a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources

Surviving Caregiving with Dignity, Love, and Kindness | Simplifying the Search for In-Home Care

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My Aging Parent Needs Help!: 7-Step Guide to Caregiving with No Regrets, More Compassion, and Going from Overwhelmed to Organized [Includes Tips for Caregiver Burnout]

Take Back Your Life: A Caregiver's Guide to Finding Freedom in the Midst of Overwhelm

The Conscious Caregiver: A Mindful Approach to Caring for Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself

Dear Caregiver, It's Your Life Too: 71 Self-Care Tips To Manage Stress, Avoid Burnout, And Find Joy Again While Caring For A Loved One

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved

The Art of Dying

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying

Providing Comfort During the Last Days of Life with Barbara Karnes RN (YouTube Video)

Preparing the patient, family, and caregivers for a “Good Death.”

Velocity of Changes in Condition as an Indicator of Approaching Death (often helpful to answer how soon? or when?)

The Dying Process and the End of Life

The Last Hours of Life

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Gone from My Sight: The Dying Experience

The Eleventh Hour: A Caring Guideline for the Hours to Minutes Before Death

By Your Side, A Guide for Caring for the Dying at Home

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