The estimated 950,000 people passing through Times Square in New York City every day will see messages affirming hospice care on the CBS Super Screen by 42nd Street throughout this holiday season. This is part of an outreach campaign of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization to affirm the value of hospice and help people understand the many benefits hospice care offers for patients and families facing serious and life-limiting illness.
“Many people don’t know that hospice care is provided in the home, where most people want to be; that hospice care is a fully covered benefit under Medicare; that hospice helps the family caregivers as well as the patient; and that hospice care is available for months, not just days,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.
A growing body of research is helping people understand hospice in new ways. For example, research has shown that hospice care can help people with some of the most common forms of cancer live on average 28 days longer than conventional care.
Emergency room visits and repeat hospitalizations are reduced for those receiving this quality care.
Family caregivers that have access to hospice report higher quality of living, less complicated grieving, and very high satisfaction with the care their loved ones received.
And in these days when health care costs are a growing concern, it’s important to know that researchers have found that hospice care can save Medicare more than $2,300 per beneficiary that takes advantage of this high quality, compassionate care.
Hospice care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of professionals and trained volunteers that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, allied therapists, bereavement professionals, home health aides, spiritual care providers, and trained volunteers from the local community.
In recent years, there has been a growth of hospital-based palliative care programs that bring this compassionate model of care to people earlier in the course of an illness. Many people are not aware that hospices are the oldest and largest providers of palliative care services in this country with many hospice programs caring for people with a range of diagnoses earlier.
“For 40 years, hospices have been mobilizing social change to improve care of the dying,” added Schumacher. “New hospice programs are continuing to open to meet the increasing needs of our aging society and many of these programs are committed to creating a seamless continuum of care that extends beyond the stage many people think of as ‘actively dying.’”
Anita Brikman, NHPCO senior vice president of strategic communications, “We’re working to reach out via multiple venues that include print, editorials, social media – and even opportunities like a Times Square billboard – to remind people that hospices have always been the leaders in end-of-life care that puts the patient and family first.”
To learn more about hospice, visit NHPCO’s Caring Connections website at CaringInfo.org/hospice.