Some people have the wrong idea about what hospice care means. Many people hear hospice, and they think “brink of death” care or “nothing more can be done”. In reality, hospice helps people with life-limiting illness live to their fullest with the best care possible. It’s true that most people receiving hospice care die, however true hospice care is about living. This is the third in a series of some of the most common misconceptions about hospice.
Myth #3: Hospice will stop all medications except those treating pain and agitation.
Hospice patients are often on many medications when they are enrolled. The admission period is a time for reevaluation of the current medication list, as many medications are no longer effective, or may have significant side effects which outweigh the benefits. For example, hospice patients who have heart failure will likely continue on all of their usual heart medications and diuretics (fluid pills) to help control their symptoms, but may stop their cholesterol medication or osteoporosis medication as it may take years to reap the benefits of these. Each patient’s medication list and clinical picture is evaluated individually to determine which medications will be covered by hospice based on the underlying diagnosis.
-by Dr. Laura Patel, Medical Director