A referral to Hospice of Davidson County can be made by anyone – a doctor, a member of the clergy, a family member or friend, or the patient themselves.
To begin receiving Hospice Care, a patient’s physician must make a determination that he or she is appropriate for Hospice. This is made by certifying that the patient has a limited life expectancy. Hospice of Davidson County Intake Coordinators can help with the paperwork in the certification process.
Common Misconceptions About Hospice Care & Hospice Referrals
Does calling Hospice of Davidson County mean giving up hope?
No, not at all. Hospice redefines hope for each patient and family. Where a patient may have once hoped for a cure, they now hope to live their final months pain-free, surrounded by friends and loved ones. Hope can be as simple as wanting to remain at home rather than making frequent trips to a hospital. Or it can provide opportunities for lost relatives to reconnect, old wounds to heal, and forgiveness to be extended. Hope may look different in Hospice Care, but it is not lost.
I thought Hospice Care was only for people with cancer.
This is a common myth. At Hospice of Davidson County, about 40 percent of our patients have a cancer diagnosis. Other diagnoses may be heart disease, stroke, auto-immune diseases, and traumatic brain injury.
Does Hospice Care mean I am going to die tomorrow?
Hospice Care is appropriate for patients who have a terminal illness and life expectancy of six months or less. This diagnosis is based on the determination that if the illness runs its normal course. However, this differs by individual and can fluctuate quite dramatically. We’ve all heard of individuals who had a terminal illness who are still with us years later. So, it isn’t an exact science. However, we do know that too often patients are referred to Hospice Care late in their illness. An earlier referral means more support for both the patient and the family, so we always want families to consider hospice as a health care option after receiving a terminal diagnosis. Currently, the average length of stay for Hospice patients is three weeks.
Does Hospice Care mean death will come sooner?
According to a national study conducted in 2007, patients who opt for Hospice Care live an average of one month longer than similar patients who did not choose Hospice. And, morphine and other comfort medications also do not cause death to occur sooner. Patients under Hospice Care who receive significant doses of these medications live the same or longer than those who do not, according to the International Association of Hospice & Palliative Care (IAHPC, 2010).
Isn’t Hospice Care expensive?
Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies cover hospice care. For those who do not have coverage, Hospice of Davidson County does not turn anyone away based on ability to pay for the care received.
If I choose Hospice, will I have to leave my home?
Hospice Care in Davidson County is provided wherever the patient may be: in their own home or a family member’s home, in a nursing home or in an assisted living facility. Hospice Care is also delivered at the county’s only inpatient Hospice unit – The Henry Etta & Bruce Hinkle Hospice House.
Isn’t Hospice Care only for the elderly?
Hospice is for anyone facing a life-limiting illness, regardless of age. At Hospice of Davidson County, we provide Hospice Care for adults of all ages. In 2013, nearly 20 percent of the patients served by Hospice of Davidson County were under the age of 64.