Considered to be the model for high-quality, compassionate care at the end of life, hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to care that includes expert medical care, pain-and-symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support. All care is expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes.
Hospice offers the services and support that Americans want when coping with a serious or life-limiting illness.
The goal of this type of care is to treat the person instead of the disease, and focus on the family caregivers, not just the individual. The quality of life is emphasized, not its duration.
Just the Facts: National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reports:
- Hospice usage in the U.S. is growing. Every year, more than 1.58 million Americans with life-limiting illness are cared for by the nation’s 5,100 hospice providers.
- The median length of service for hospice patients is 29.7 days (half of patients receive care for more days, half of patients receive care for fewer days). Yet, more than 35 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 less than 36 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 458,000 trained volunteers contribute more than 21 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.
For more information, please visit the NHPCO’s Caring Connections at www.caringinfo.org or call the NHPCO HelpLine at 800-658-8898.