NHPCO shares important policy considerations during November to protect the integrity of the Medicare benefit for patients and families facing life-limiting and advanced illness and offers resources on finding a quality hospice.
Hospice in the U.S. has evolved since it began as a largely grassroots, volunteer-driven movement in the 1970s. Recent analysis targeting the growth and limitations of hospice may confuse the public about the role and value of person centered, end-of-life care. November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, the perfect opportunity to engage with local hospices and learn more about the benefits and value of hospice and palliative care.
“Every year, more dying Americans and their family caregivers are receiving the interdisciplinary care and support that hospice provides,” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach. “In their final weeks, days and hours many were able to spend time at home or other home-like settings surrounded by family– as opposed to the sterile environment of a hospital or intensive care unit, thanks to the support of hospice.”
In July, NHPCO published a document, Hospice Program Integrity Initiatives, that offers suggestions for improving care delivery, transparency and strengthening consumer confidence.
In examining challenges faced by the hospice provider community, NHPCO reminds the public of the importance of not overlooking the greater benefit hospice provides to so many at what is often an incredibly difficult circumstance – the end of life.
Understanding the Value of Hospice Care
To provide additional considerations regarding the value of hospice care in the U.S., the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization published a policy brief earlier this year, Hospice: Leading Interdisciplinary Care. It outlines key aspects, goals, and benefits of hospice care.
Through evidence-based quantitative research and extensive case-study analysis, Hospice: Leading Interdisciplinary Care illustrates the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial benefits of hospice care for patients, families and communities throughout the country. Commissioned by NHPCO and developed by Dobson|DaVanzo & Associates, the brief serves as a comprehensive guide for those who seek to learn more about the Medicare Hospice Benefit and understand why an integrated, person-centered care model should be adopted more broadly in America’s evolving healthcare landscape.
NHPCO stresses that hospice care is cost-effective for Medicare and its beneficiaries. By avoiding expensive treatments and procedures solely designed to prolong the life of terminally-ill patients, hospice users reduce Medicare spending while still receiving quality, patient-preferred, end-of-life care on their own terms.
Helping Choose a Quality Hospice
For individuals or family caregivers seeking information about hospice care, NHPCO’s CaringInfo.org offers basic information about the scope of services hospice provides. A helpful worksheet, Choosing a Quality Hospice for You or a Loved One, offers some questions that families might ask when considering options for a hospice provider.
Additionally, the CaringInfo.org website offers an online Find a Provider tool that can help people find a hospice service provider that best meets their specific needs.
NHPCO issued a National Hospice and Palliative Care Month Proclamation for November that is available on the organization’s website.