Hospice Care Is Free for Most Patients: 3 Surprisings Reasons Why Terminally Ill Patients Are Turning down Free Care

Posted on: 23 February 2015

Medicare covers 100 percent of most of the costs associated with hospice care for a period of up to six months. Unfortunately, the service is extremely underused. And most people who do take advantage of hospice care only receive care for the last few weeks of their life when hospice care could do so much more for them. In fact, hospice covers many medical services that help terminally-ill patients live more fulfilling lives, such as speech therapy, physical therapy, dietary counseling and more. Following are three surprising reasons why people turn down free hospice care.  

They View It as Giving up

Some patients feel that transitioning into hospice care means that they have given up, that they have stopped fighting. They think that they will have to simply crawl into bed and give up once they enter hospice. But this simply isn't true. Many patients continue to live active lives for months while in hospice care. In fact, hospice allows some patients to do things they would not have otherwise been to do while under other types of care. 

Some Think They Aren't Eligible

Contrary to popular belief, hospice care isn't just for the dying nor is it for the bedridden only. Of the million or so people who use hospice annually, a large percentage of them live for months while getting care. Many of them aren't taking their last breaths. Instead, they are living life to the fullest despite having life-threatening illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke and dementia.   

Ridiculous Insurance Regulations

Insurance regulations make it impossible for some people to enter hospice care even though they would very much like to. In order to qualify for hospice, patients must meet certain criteria. For example, patients must not be receiving medical feeding assistance in order to leave the hospital and enter hospice care, which means that a patient with a feeding tube wouldn't qualify unless the tube was removed. These types of rules make it impossible for patients with medical limitations to take advantage of such valuable care. Even though they would enjoy a much better quality of life at home, these patients have to remain in the hospital. 

Hospice care (available at facilities like Marlette Regional Hospital) is a valuable service that helps those living with terminal illnesses live a better life. If you know someone who would benefit from this type of care but aren't sure if they're eligible, call your local hospice provider. They will help you figure out what's possible in your loved one's specific case.