Owning a homecare agency and dealing with the elderly, we have seen firsthand what great things hospice does for the individual and the family facing an end of life situation. There are several things I find myself wishing everyone knew about hospice. Here are six that I want to highlight:

1. People are not taking advantage of hospice early enough to really reap all the benefits it has to offer. I was shocked to hear that only 33% of all hospice patients live 7 days or less.

2. Some people mistakenly believe hospice care is only for cancer patients. Not true! Qualification is based on certification that the patient probably has 6 months or less to live if their disease or affliction runs its natural course.

3. Everyone can utilize hospice regardless of financial situation. Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance will cover hospice so that no one will be turned away.

4. Hospice isn’t about lessening care by any means! In fact hospice in orange county  , there is something called the “hospice effect” whereby a certain percentage of patients so greatly benefit from the care and attention, they actually get better! These patients are then able to come off hospice! Just remember that hospice care is not curative.

5. Hospice provides one year of bereavement services for the family after the patient dies. This is something that probably too few families either know about or take advantage of.

6. A person may stay on hospice more than 6 months. As long as the hospice medical director and the patient’s doctor continue to certify that the patient probably has 6 months or less to live, hospice will continue for another 6 months. There have been patients that have been on hospice for several years.

It is my hope that by educating the public about hospice, more people will take advantage of this wonderfully caring service.

Theanna L. Zika began Heavenly Helpers Senior Home Care in 2004 with a vision to “raise the bar” on the quality of existing home care for seniors. Heavenly Helpers is an independent, non medical home care agency proudly serving the St. Louis, Missouri Metro area. While our office is located in the heart of Webster Groves, we provide care throughout St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson County.