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The Truth About Hospice

Since the first hospice opened in the United States in 1974, its use has increased steadily. It is estimated that one in four people who died in 2000 used hospice care, and that number continues to grow.

But still hospice remains a widely misunderstood resource. In 2002, the White House declared November National Hospice Month in recognition of the dedication of hospice workers and in order to increase awareness of hospice services.

In honor of the occasion, Harbor Light Hospice, which serves 9 counties in Northeast Ohio, would like to dispel several common myths about hospice.

Myth: Hospice is only for cancer patients.

Diagnoses of any type of end-stage diseases or symptoms qualify a patient for hospice.

Myth: I donít need hospice if I am in a nursing home.

Hardworking facility nurses do a great job, but hospice can provide patients with even more attention. Harbor Light Hospice, for example, sends a team that includes a nurse, who provides pain and symptom control, a nurseís assistant, who provides shower and meal assistance, a social worker, a chaplain, and volunteers, who can provide anything from companionship to massage and pet therapies to art and music activities, to both private residences and care facilities.

Myth: Hospice isnít affordable.

Medicare part A hospice benefit covers 100% of many hospice costs for eligible patients.

Myth: Hospice isnít necessary until someone has only a few days left to live.

The sooner hospice workers see a patient, the more quality end-of-life care they can provide. One of the most often received complaints from families of former hospice patients is that they wish they would have called sooner.

For more information about hospice services, call Harbor Light Hospice at 1-888-227-6543.

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