Myths And Facts About Hospice Care
Once you get past the daydreams about birdwatching during your daily walks through your neighborhood, your estate planning lawyer will remind you that you also need a plan for the times when you are no longer healthy enough to strut like an egret and perch like an anhinga. You can then dream about assisted living facilities where you will meet many friends close to your age who share your values or about building an extension onto your daughter’s house and eating dinner with your grandchildren every night, but your work is still not done. Everyone eventually begins showing symptoms of an illness from which they will not recover. Planning for end-of-life care, including hospice care, is an important part of your estate plan. Failing to plan for end-of-life care can cause tremendous financial and emotional stress for you and your family. A Tampa estate planning attorney can help you make the best decisions about hospice care.
MYTH: Hospice Care Is Only for People Who Are on Death’s Doorstep
FACT: Hospice care is for anyone with a terminal illness that they are no longer trying to cure. Medicare will pay for hospice care for patients whose doctors expect them to survive for six months or less. Some people live much longer than their doctors predict, and as long as your doctor does not estimate your survival time as more than a year, you can keep receiving hospice care indefinitely. Some people go in and out of hospice care for years, whether they are filing Medicare claims or paying for it out of pocket.
MYTH: Hospice Care Is Always In-Home Care
FACT: Hospice is an approach to medical care, not a place. Some people who have been aging in place undergo hospice care at home after being in and out of hospitals as their health worsened. Others receive hospice care in the same nursing homes where they have resided since years before the hospice care began. Some cities even have specially designed hospice centers.
MYTH: Patients Receiving Hospice Care Cannot Take Pharmaceutical Drugs
FACT: Hospice care is palliative care, in which the goal is to relieve symptoms but not to cure the disease or slow its progression. Not all patients who receive palliative care are terminally ill, but the ones in hospice care are. Most hospice care patients receive medication to manage pain, anemia, and other symptoms. Which medications to take at what stage during hospice care is an individual decision to be made between the patient, the doctors, and if applicable, the patient’s healthcare surrogate.
Just as estate planning is not all about death, strategizing about hospice care now, while you are healthy, is more of a relief than you may realize.
Contact David Toback With Questions About Expressing Your Wishes for End-of-Life Care
A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you make decisions about hospice care and communicate your wishes to your family. Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.