Nurse cares for a elderly patient lying in bed in hospital.

Hospice is not a place, but is high-quality care that enables patients and families to focus on living as fully as possible despite a life-limiting illness. Palliative care brings this holistic model of care to people earlier in the course of a serious illness. November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and hospice and palliative care programs across the country are reaching out to help people understand all that hospice and palliative care offer.

The theme for National Hospice and Palliative Care Month 2018 is “My Hospice: A Program that Works. A Benefit that Matters.” It stresses the importance of people thinking about the care they would and would not want before they find themselves in a medical crisis.

It is essential that people understand that hospice and palliative care is not giving up, it is not the abandonment of care, it is not reserved for the imminently dying,” said Edo Banach, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “Hospice is a successful model of person-centered care that brings hope, dignity and compassion when they are most needed. This is one reason that the national My Hospice Campaign was launched this year.

Every year, nearly 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries receive care from hospices in this country, reports NHPCO. Hospice and palliative care programs provide pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support and spiritual care to patients and their family caregivers when a cure is not possible.

Throughout the month of November, Great Plains QIN will be joining organizations across the nation to help the community understand how important hospice and palliative care can be.

Just the Facts: National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization* reports:

  • Hospice usage in the U.S. is growing. Every year, more than 1.6 to 1.7 million Americans with life-limiting illness are cared for by the nation’s hospice providers.
  • The percent of patients die or are discharged in seven days or less – too short a time to benefit from the full ranges of services a hospice can offer.
  • Cancer accounts for 36.6 percent of hospice patients – which surprises many people who mistakenly think hospice only serves cancer patients. The five other leading diagnoses are: heart disease, debility, dementia (this includes Alzheimer’s disease), lung disease and stroke.
  • Hospice is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs and other managed care organizations.
  • An estimated 430,000 trained volunteers contribute more than 19 million hours of service every year.
  • Research shows that 8 out of 10 Americans would want to stay in their homes surrounded by family and loved ones if they were faced with a life-limiting illness. Hospice makes this happen.

The Great Plains Quality Innovation Network team would like to say THANK YOU to the thousands of home health and hospice nurses, therapists, aides, volunteers and other caregivers who work hard to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of care in their homes each and every day. Your efforts are recognized and appreciated.

For more information about National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, click here.