Savannah medical experts explain benefits of hospice care

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 4:54 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - This weekend will mark one month since former President Jimmy Carter entered hospice care.

The former president’s decision has a lot of people asking just what hospice care is.

Medical experts say there are a lot of myths about hospice care that may deter people from seeking it.

The topic of Hospice care is not easy for many to talk about and it can come with many misconceptions.

“That we’re only available to people that are in their last few days or few weeks of life. People can benefit from hospice care much earlier than that in most cases.”

Hospice Savannah Nurse Manager Franki Owens says on average, people are on hospice care for three weeks. But some people live on hospice care for six months with around the clock help, in their home or in a facility like this one.

“To go over the medications, provide support, some education about what’s going to happen and how it’s going to look.”

And while rare, some people get better and live past their stay.

A reason people like President Jimmy Carter make this decision is because they don’t want to spend their last days in and out of hospitals.

“I believe we give hope. We give hope for pain control. We give hope for time with your family. We give hope for you being able to spend out your days where you want them to be where it is your control,” Owens says.

And she says since the start of the pandemic more people have been choosing in home and in facility hospice care. That’s because many couldn’t be in the hospital rooms with their loved ones to say goodbye.

“A lot of people made the choice to stay home, be able to have their close family in their pod, in their home and die peacefully at home be it from COVID or whatever complications that arose.”

And she says if you see these signs in an ill loved one.

“Their memory may be declining, eating less.”

It could mean hospice is a good option.

“If you don’t know you should call. It does not have to look like the last days of life. We can come in. We can benefit. We can help.”