Advertisement
  1. Health

Debunking misconceptions about hospice

Dr. Gary McCarragher
Dr. Gary McCarragher
Published Apr. 6, 2012


Editor's note: Gary McCarragher is a hospice physician in Pasco County who thinks more people would seek palliative care near the end of life if they better understood hospice. Last time, he looked at who is eligible for hospice care. Today, he's debunking misconceptions about the rights and privileges of hospice patients. To see his first column, go to TampaBay.com/health.


MISCONCEPTION: Hospice patients are required to sign a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order.


TRUTH: Patients are under no obligation to sign a DNR form. Given their circumstances — to be hospice eligible, you must have a terminal diagnosis and a life expectancy of less than six months — most patients have a DNR. But some patients choose not to. We do educate patients as to what is involved in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but if a patient wants to be resuscitated, their wishes will be honored without affecting their hospice care.


MISCONCEPTION: Hospice patients are not permitted to call 911, go to a hospital emergency room, or be admitted to hospital.


TRUTH: Calling 911, and seeking ER and hospital treatment are certainly all permitted.


However, when you become a hospice patient, you are agreeing to a palliative treatment course that emphasizes comfort and quality of life measures, and to involve the hospice on your plan of care. So when a crisis occurs for a patient who is at home or in a care facility and has signed a DNR, we ask that the hospice be called first. An emergency visit by a hospice nurse and/or doctor can usually take care of most issues.


For patients who go into cardiopulmonary arrest and have stated they want to be resuscitated, 911 should be called first. Then hospice should be contacted.


MISCONCEPTION: Hospice patients must end their relationship with their primary care physicians and specialists.


TRUTH: Hospice welcomes and encourages collaboration between the patient, their primary care physician, specialists and the hospice physician. Patients may continue to see their own physicians in their medical offices, the hospital, chronic care facility, at home, or a hospice facility. These physicians can all bill for any services rendered to the patient.


NEXT TIME: Treatment Options and Care Plan Philosophy


Dr. Gary McCarragher received his medical training at McGill University and the University of Ottawa and was a gastroenterologist in Brooksville for 18 years before going to work for Hospice and Palliative Physician Services, which contracts with HPH Hospice in Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter (drgarymac), or at www.garymccarragher.com.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. “My body, my choice” was the rallying cry on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in the state Capitol, where abortion rights activists decried a fast-tracked bill that would raise the bar for minors seeking abortions. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla) [AILEEN PERILLA  |  AP]
    Abortion supporters worry about Florida’s move toward parental consent and what may follow.
  2. Staff move bio-waste containers past the entrance of the Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The number of cases of a new coronavirus from Wuhan has risen over 400 in China Chinese health authorities said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dake Kang) [DAKE KANG  |  AP]
    On the eve of the Lunar New Year, transportation was shut down in at least 13 cities home to more than 36 million people.
  3. This Feb. 6, 2015, file photo shows a Measles, Mumps and Rubella, M-M-R vaccine on a countertop at a pediatrics clinic in Greenbrae, Calif. A study released this week has found that a 2016 California law intended to improve childhood vaccination rates had the greatest effect on high-risk areas where the rates were the lowest. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File) [ERIC RISBERG  |  AP]
    The case involves a man who recently traveled to South America.
  4. To accommodate the swelling numbers of aging baby boomers, experts say we will need to make transportation more readily available, build more affordable housing, modify homes and apartments to help seniors age in place, and create programs to bring young and old people together. [Times (2011)]
    “There’s never been a time like this,” one expert says. Solutions include more health aides, taming long-term care costs and just healthier living.
  5. Joseph Hernandez Hall is home to the University of Florida's chemistry department, where a faculty member recently resigned after officials discovered he failed to disclose his strong ties to China. While at UF, the faculty member also held positions at two Chinese universities, including vice president and dean. The faculty member was not named in a report obtained Tuesday from the Florida Legislature. [University of Florida]
    They also collected grant money from the U.S. government while never disclosing their outside work in China.
  6. Margaret Pruitt, today’s exercise model, is a real wonder woman.
  7. Travelers wear face masks as they sit in a waiting room at the Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. A fourth person has died in an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China, authorities said Tuesday, as more places stepped up medical screening of travelers from the country as it enters its busiest travel period. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) [MARK SCHIEFELBEIN  |  AP]
    The possibility the virus can be transmitted between people increases the chances it could spread faster and more widely.
  8. A new report to the Florida Legislature details the investigation that led to the forced resignations of six Moffitt Cancer Center employees in December, including president and CEO Dr. Alan List. [Moffitt Cancer Center]
    The money came from the “Thousand Talents Program” and went to personal accounts set up in China.
  9. The C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. (Times | 2014)
    The chief justice dropped an ‘Okay, Boomer’ reference during oral arguments in the case of a pharmacist who accused the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System of age discrimination.
  10. Six of the 11 Pinellas County Head Start preschool centers found to have mold problems earlier this month are still closed. A few more could reopen next week, but some could be closed longer. [Google Maps]
    Five of the 11 affected locations have reopened, but hundreds of children can’t go back to their preschool yet.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement