Experts shine light on common hospice care misconceptions

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– With the news of President Jimmy Carter’s declining health, and his decision to receive hospice care from home, there are questions surrounding this type of end-of-life care.  

Experts with Lower Cape Fear LifeCare say hospice doesn’t always mean a person has weeks or days to live.  

Patients are usually in their last six months of life with a terminal illness, and the hospice is actually intended to help patients live longer if they’re referred early enough in their illness.   

“People have this misconception that if you are in hospice, you are hastening death. That’s not what we do at all. We really help people live as fully as possible with managing their symptoms, helping the family to cope with what’s going on, and really encourage the patient to live as fully as possible,” said Kelly Erola, Physician and Chief Medical Officer at Lower Cape Fear LifeCare.  

“There are reliable studies that have shown that individuals who engage in hospice care early on in their disease process actually live longer than those who don’t receive hospice care,” said Gwen Whitley, President and CEO Lower Cape Fear LifeCare.    

Lower Cape Fear LifeCare President Gwen Whitley says the reason many people have misconceptions about hospice is because in many cases, patients are referred very late in their illness journey, and only have days left to live at that point with or without care. 

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