Most families are reluctant to make the decision to involve hospice care. Many wonder why hospice care would be an option if your loved one is not terminally ill. Isn’t hospice only for people who are actively dying? This is a common misconception when deciding whether to involve hospice care. The Center for Disease Control states that hospice is utilized by more than 1.3 million patients. Furthermore, it is provided by 4,000 agencies. Yet it is still vastly misunderstood.

This Next Avenue article discusses the process of deciding to use hospice care. Medicare defines hospice as “a trained team of professionals providing care for the ‘whole person’.” This includes physical, social emotional, and spiritual needs. However, there are differences between hospice and conventional medical care. Hospice care does not treat specific causes of illnesses. This may be confusing. Do you have to stop all medical treatments to involve hospice care? The simple answer is no. You are only dismissing further extreme measures, such as another round of chemotherapy or surgeries.

A huge benefit of hospice care is its ability to manage pain. This is one of the main ideas behind hospice. Ask yourself what the chances are of your loved one getting better with conventional treatments. Compare this with the suffering that extensive medical treatments may (or may not) entail at their age.

Improving the quality of life for both the patient and the family is vital for the comfort of everyone involved. Knowing that your loved one will be comfortable will ease the process. Knowing that hospice can provide a compassionate approach to ease suffering towards the end of life. This can bring all involved some peace of mind.