Does Hospice Mean Death? Learn The Truth About Hospice

Hospice patient laughing with hospice nurse

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Last Updated on September 26, 2021 by Frank Davis

The term hospice care refers to a type of healthcare service that assists patients with terminal illnesses in managing and treating their pain and symptoms. The key to hospice is providing comfort care to patients, which includes physical, emotional, and spiritual support. It has been established that hospice care is not intended to make life shorter or longer, although several studies have suggested that those receiving hospice care do live longer.

In this article, we are going to answer the question, “Does hospice mean death?” We do not believe that it does. Let us discuss the reasons why this isn’t the case.

Hospice Patients Live Longer than Non Hospice Patients

Did you know that there have been several studies done in which hospice care recipients live longer than those who did not receive hospice care. According to one study, hospice patients live an average of 29 days longer than those who do not receive hospice care. The reasoning may be the high level of care which includes pain and symptom management, dietitians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, medication management, and counseling just to name a few.

As far as hospices are concerned, they cannot be interpreted as death as research has shown that hospice patients live longer than those who do not receive hospice care. There have been a lot of patients that, due to the high level of care that they receive, have lived a longer and better quality of life. I’m here to tell you there is a common misconception that hospice hastens the death of patients, but this is simply not true, studies have shown otherwise.   

A majority of Physicians Prognosis is not Accurate

It is impossible for anyone on earth to be able to make an exact prediction regarding a person’s life expectancy. In a sense, a prediction is just an educated guess. Studies have shown that the majority of physicians get their predictions wrong. This is not surprising, as getting a prediction right is extremely challenging as everyone has a different disease and their bodies react differently to that disease.

The fact is, if physicians often get their prognostication wrong, then it is likely that no one can accurately predict the amount of time that a person has left to live. Therefore, when it comes to hospice, the prognosis really means that there is a possibility that you may die and not that you are guaranteed to die. The reason for this is that your illness may go into remission, you might live longer than 6 months, anything is possible during that time frame. 

Further Reading:
Is Hospice Care Free

Some Patients do get Better or Graduate from Hospice

There was also a 6.3% of patients reported by the NHPCO in 2018 who were either recovered or graduated from hospice care and they were then diagnosed as no longer terminally ill. This is roughly about 104,000 patients in one year. To diagnose that a patient is no longer terminally ill, a hospice doctor has to make sure that the patient’s illness has gone into remission, and the patient’s life expectancy has increased beyond 6 months.

In spite of this, some may be surprised by this news due to the perception hospice is synonymous with death. Hospice is not a death sentence since there are those who recover and manage to get better. The objective of hospice is to provide a high quality of care and to maintain 100% comfort for patients at all times. If you learn the truth about hospice, you will discover that it is a much needed service that provides support to those with terminal illnesses that are going through critical stages in their lives.

I would like to share with you a video from the television show The Doctors, which touches on some of the same points we have covered here today.


The word hospice does not mean death because there’s research that shows hospice patients live longer than non-hospice patients, some patients do improve and go on to graduate from hospice care, and doctors don’t always get their prognosis right.

In the internet there are some misconceptions about hospice care that are being spread and as a result, some people may refuse to receive hospice care and will likely suffer more. Learning the truth about hospice is important in dispelling misconceptions. I would appreciate if you would share this post if you think it can benefit your family and friends.

You are welcome to share your thoughts with us below in a comment. It would be a pleasure for us to hear from you. If you have any questions regarding hospice care, you may contact Hospice Valley of Los Angeles at (818)433-0068. 

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Further Reading:
Can You Transfer From One Hospice to Another
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Author: Frank Davis

After working in the healthcare field for over ten years, Frank Davis has developed considerable expertise and offers you valuable insights into the industry through blogs. He has published blogs for Hospice Valley, Senior Home Care, and 24 Hour Care, and in his leisure time, Frank enjoys reading and writing.

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